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Development and Evaluation of a Maize Cob Based Bait Formulation against Subterranean Termites (Odontotermes spp.)

Development and Evaluation of a Maize Cob Based Bait Formulation against Subterranean Termites (Odontotermes spp.)

Hassan Raza1, Muhammad Zeeshan Majeed1*, Muhammad Irfan Majeed2, Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman1 and Muhammad Asam Riaz1

1Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Sargodha 40100, Pakistan; 2Department of Chemistry, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, 38040, Pakistan.

ABSTRACT

Subterranean termites are devastating pests of many agricultural and horticultural crops, forest plantations and wooden infrastructures. Farmers rely primarily on direct applications of liquid insecticides which usually get off the target site resulting in unsatisfactory and short-term termite eradication along with environmental contaminations. This situation necessitates looking for more target-oriented and ecologically safer strategies such as baiting insecticides with some cellulose attractant. In this study, 5% technical grade fipronil was formulated as small beads (3.5 mm) made by a matrix composed of 65% maize cob powder (as source of natural cellulose for termite attraction), 18% starch, 6% sodium alginate, 4% sodium silicate, and 2% urea. Termites infested monitoring stations installed in a sugarcane field were treated with the formulated bait beads and were inspected for termite activity at 15 and 30 days post-treatment. Results of initial in-vitro trials indicated that formulated beads remained intact and did not disintegrate by consecutive episodes of wetting and drying and were able to attract more than 50% termite individuals exposed. This formulation suppressed the termites in field as no termite foraging was recorded inside the bait-treated monitoring stations for about a month post-treatment, while the termites fed on all beads in the control monitoring stations. Overall study findings validate the effectiveness of fipronil and formulated beads for their potential incorporation in the management of subterranean termites in agricultural crops. However, further studies are needed to get more empirical data regarding the formulation’s effectiveness and to determine the insecticide (fipronil) release kinetics from the formulated beads under laboratory and field conditions.

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture

December

Vol. 38, Iss. 4, Pages 1160-1546

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