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  • Erythritol Ingestion Causes Concentration-Dependent Mortality in Eastern Subterranean Termites (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae).

Erythritol Ingestion Causes Concentration-Dependent Mortality in Eastern Subterranean Termites (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae).

Journal of economic entomology (2019-10-08)
Virginia Caponera, Meghan Barrett, Daniel R Marenda, Sean O'donnell
ABSTRACT

Damage from termite infestations is economically significant and control can be costly when requiring the widespread use of conventional insecticides. Erythritol, a polyalcohol sweetener that is safe for human consumption, causes increased mortality when ingested by some insects, indicating potential as a safe alternative insecticide. Here, we investigated the applicability of erythritol as a novel toxicant method of termite control. Eastern subterranean termites, Reticulitermes flavipes Kollar (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae), were fed paper foods treated with increasing concentrations of erythritol and were assessed for mortality and bait consumption. Termite survival to 8 d (the duration of the experiment) significantly decreased as erythritol treatment concentration increased, indicating that the lethal effects of erythritol were concentration-dependent. Termites consumed erythritol-treated paper at all concentrations and did not display avoidance in choice assays, suggesting that erythritol may be practical for use as an ingestible bait. These results provide a basis for further development of erythritol as a safe alternative method of termite control.

MATERIALS
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Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Brilliant Blue R, 250, for microscopy