Tackling Termites Together

Two heads are better than one, so the saying goes, and with collaboration in mind, two Forest Service research units have come together in the fight against the troublesome termite.

The Forest Service’s Southern Research Station (SRS) Termite Team, stationed in Starkville, Miss., recently merged with the Durability and Wood Protection unit at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

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Termite workers and soldiers.

FPL has conducted termite research on control and suppression via baiting systems and termiticide development for decades, while the SRS termite team has a long history of evaluating termiticides and barrier systems for federal and state registration. The reorganized Research Work Unit (RWU) recognizes the potential of the combined expertise of the termite program to impact the structural pest management industry and make a difference in the lives of every homeowner.

Research synergies between the merged programs combine efforts to make a positive contribution to the forest products industry and the pest management industry through public-private partnerships that address national and international interests on the following:

  • the effects of climate change on insect pest migration and the effects on forest ecosystems
  • mitigation of invasive species migration to suppress economic damage to structures in urban settings and tree mortality that contributes to the threat of wildfires
  • developing targeted inhibitors for an eco-friendly approach to termite control in green building applications
  • investigating the role of decomposition rates of course woody debris on long-term carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling on ecosystem restoration
  • promotion of Forest Service initiatives to reduce and limit accumulation of and contamination from toxicants in the environment