Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gregg Henderson


Three colonies of Formosan subterranean termites collected from Lake Charles, Louisiana were not antagonistic towards each other, and three of five colonies collected from New Orleans, Louisiana also showed no aggression. Colonies collected from widely separated parishes, however, often showed antagonistic behavior towards each other. Workers provided food to soldiers from different but amicable colonies whether nestmate soldiers were present or not. Intercolonial mutual grooming also was observed. Furthermore, termites assisted other termites of the same colony or an amicable one in finding food. This assistance in finding food occurred when termites foraged underground or on the surface. Based on these experimental results, a compartmentalized preconditioning termite bait system (CPBS) was developed. Marking Formosan subterranean termites with rubidium (Rb) was feasible. Rubidium-marked termites were distinguishable from unmarked termites for at least one month. Rb can be transferred from workers to soldiers. D-aspartic acid and L-glutamic acid were most preferred by Formosan subterranean termites in multiple choice feeding preference tests with 19 other amino acids. Feeding preference on D-aspartic-treated filter paper remained high regardless of termite colony origin or original food (tree) source. Formosan subterranean termites fed preferentially on filter paper treated with L-aspartic acid over that treated with distilled water in a choice test. L-proline, L-lysine, and L-isoleucine increased food consumption by termites in a no-choice feeding test. A new technique to quickly screen termite feeding stimulants from natural products was developed. Feeding stimulants were bioassayed by allowing termites to feed on a treated paper chromatography strip. Active bands of can be located by comparing the location of termite feeding on the tested paper strip with the reference paper strip. The matching bands determined to be feeding areas are then cut from the reference paper strip and washed with solvent. A feeding bioassay apparatus, essential to this new screening technique was developed.