1108 Lab Proposal 1
20 September 2011
Efficiency of Wood Finishing as a Termite Deterrent
One look at a blind worker termite and the word that might pop into one’s head is helpless. However, many homeowner’s are now learning that these creatures may not be so helpless; instead they are causing billions of dollars worth of damages across the globe. One study in Indonesia estimates that in 1995 termites accounted for 200 million dollars worth of structural damage to buildings and 300 million dollars in 2005. (Hadi 2010). In order to control these termite invaders, chemical repellents such as hydroquinone and inoxcarb have been used to kill destructive termite species. These chemicals are expensive, kill non target insects, and can be harmful for the environment. In fact, due to their long residual persistence and high toxicity, many of these pesticides have been banned in the United States (Upadhyay 2012). Research on finding different alternatives to man-made pesticides has already proven to be profitable as researchers search for new ways to utilize coconut based products to created wood vinegars that demonstrate a high killing rate against termites (Sunan 2011).
In order to find a better alternative to the problem of termites without the use of pesticides or damaging chemicals at all, an experiment needs to be conducted that explores less detrimental termite deterrents. Using pine wood, which is highly susceptible to termite invasion, we will have termites choose between untreated, painted, varnished, and sealed wood. Once dried, these surface treatments are non-toxic to other organisms and are relatively inexpensive.
We hypothesize that one of these wood finishes will more effectively act as a deterrent to termites. This hypothesis is supported by what is known about termite biology. The termite that will be used is Reticulitermes flavipes of the worker class. Worker termites are the most abundant in a termite colony and...