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Researchers Have Developed A Substance That Prevents Termites From Eating And Burrowing

Researchers Have Developed A Substance That Prevents Termites From Eating And Burrowing | Tucson Termite Experts

Researchers are always looking for smarter ways to kill bugs, and no one is complaining, not even PETA. Although current pest control products work well to control insect pests, there is still money to be made and saved by innovating pest control products. Researchers in the Philippines have recently created a substance that successfully repels termites. This substance is a type of oil that is extracted from the physic nut. The physic nut is not a nut at all, but rather a small shrub that is cultivated in South America, Africa, Australia and Asia. The plant is used for culinary and medicinal purposes, and it is also used to manufacture several different products. However, the shrub is toxic to humans and it has been traditionally used as an insect repellent. For centuries people have used the shrub to repel a variety of insect pests that include cockroaches, weevils and several types of bollworms. Researchers recently proved its effectiveness at controlling populations of Philippine milk termites. The oil from the shrub prevents termites from eating and burrowing after they ingest the substance.

Physic oil is believed to alter an insect’s metabolic functions. Termites exposed to low amounts of the oil initially seemed unaffected, but they eventually ceased their burrowing activity. In some cases, the affected termites became paralyzed as a result of the exposure. Researchers applied oil from the physic nut to several different types of ground soil. The termites refused to cross areas of sand that had been treated with moderate amounts of the oil; instead, the termites remained within untreated areas of sand until they eventually starved to death. These starving termites were unwilling to breach the treated barrier even when food was clearly available on the other side. When the termites were exposed to the oil in moderate concentrations, their deaths were not immediate. The affected termites died within a period of fourteen days, and they ceased all eating and burrowing activity until death occurred. The researchers learned that different amounts of the oil are required to kill different termite species. The high amounts of oil required to kill more hardy termite species may make the use of the oil impractical in nations where modern pest control products are widely available. However, the oil could prove useful in impoverished regions where termites are abundant, as the oil is cheap to produce.

Do you think that the effects of climate change on insect pest populations will make developing new forms of pest control a primary goal in the future?