Mastotermes darwiniensis- The Ultimate destroyer!!!

What do termites destruct the most? Your home, your beloved books, your shelter, your beautiful garden, but most of all they destruct your sense of peace and sense of safety. There is some amount of mental torture as these species multiply tenfold even before you get the hang of understanding how to eliminate them. It’s like you are running against time and there is some sort of one up game being played between you and the termites. Even if they are as small as few millimeters in size, the joke is on you.

There are different levels of how dangerous the termites are. Some are docile and human friendly, and some are most destructive and clearly number one human enemy. The species Mastotermes darwiniensis come in the second category.

Mastotermes darwiniensis mapMastotermes darwiniensiscommon names giant northern termite and Darwin termite, is a termite species found only in northern Australia. It is a very peculiar insect, the most primitive termite alive.  As such, it shows uncanny similarities to certain cockroaches, the termites’ closest relatives. These similarities include the anal lobe of the wing and the laying of eggs in bunches, ratherMastotermes darwiniensis head & length than singly. It is the only living member of its genus Mastotermes and its family Mastotermitidae.

These species are subterranean species with 12.25 0.75mm in length with four castes namely king, queen, soldier and worker/reproductive.

The odd thing about Mastotermes is that while it is morphologically primitive, and has not changed its physical appearance much in many millions of years, its behavior and social structure are highly complex, and as derived as the termites that have evolved most recently of all. Mastotermes builds huge underground nest structures that contain extensive gallery constructionfg41_mastotermes_darwiniensis_205 and tunnel excavation; it forages far afield from the nest, and has been known to damage structures over a hundred yards away from its colony. Full-grown colonies contain over a million individuals, with rigid caste structures and obligatory sterility for the worker forms. This is a lot like the most-derived, most-recently evolved termites, like the great mound-builders of Africa. In contrast, the most termite-like cockroach and the next-most-primitive termites after Mastotermes all live and eat inside one piece of rotting wood, have very flexible development, do not have obligatory sterility in the worker forms, build no galleries and no tunnels, and are have many fewer group members.

fg41_termitenfrass_205Mastotermes darwiniensis build their nest (secretively) totally below the soil surface; or in the trunks and root crowns of trees and stumps. Once a nest is mature (over 100,000 or much higher) they can “split off “to form other nests over a wide ranging area. These sub nests are formed constantly and can sustain life for a long period of time without contact to the original nest.

Mastotermes darwiniensis is one of the world’s most destructive termite species, often causing severe damage to houses, buildings, bridges, posts, poles, and many other plant and animal products. It is also an agricultural pest, responsible for ring barking and killing living trees, shrubs, fruit, vegetable crops, sugarcane and rubber trees.

Mastotermes darwiniensis is also reported to attack rubber tyres on tractors and cause damage to leather, hide, plastic or lead-sheathed cables, bitumen, bagged salt, flour, glass and various metals. This is the most ancient of all the termites in the world – they occur only in Australia – a termite to be feared.

There was an article posted on Australian Website, Goldcost.com.au by Henry Tuttiett on October 15th, 2011, titled ”Terror termites found on gold coast”.Mastotermes darwiniensis The article was as follows:

AN established nest of the world’s most ferocious and aggressive termite has been discovered on the Gold Coast amid fears it could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to property in the city.

The Mastotermes darwiniensis, commonly known as the great northern termite, was not thought to live south of the Tropic of Capricorn but a colony of the fast-spreading species was found in a western Gold Coast suburb two weeks ago.

The termite can cause severe damage to a home in only 12 weeks and is so aggressive it has been known to eat electrical wiring as well as the tyres of cane tractors, and even bitumen, in northern Australia.

Termite experts and entomology handbooks describe the species as “the world’s most destructive”.

Pest-Ex Pest Management owner Danny Kelly discovered the termite in a tree stump during a property inspection and said he realized the magnitude of his find almost immediately.

A Brisbane entomologist confirmed the species before the sample was taken to an industry conference in Townsville, where experts also verified it.

Mr. Kelly, who was himself attacked by the termites after his find, said if one colony was found on the Coast, there was a high likelihood there would be more.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation said a small colony of the “particularly destructive” species was found at Tallai in 2008.

Mr. Kelly said he had also spoken to the CSIRO about the discovery.

This is the amount of fear these species have incorporated in the mind of people living in Australia. The normal alternatives like insecticides are temporary and not very effective for such species. For particularly these species arsenic dust or chemical barriers are used.  They are toxic and leach out endangering the people coming in contact with them. It is a general convention that ‘Change is the only constant’. And the change required in today’s world need to be related to going green. Our product Termirepel ®™ is the most viable alternative.

Termirepel ®™ is an aversive for termites and insects. It works even against the most aggressive species.

It has unique qualities which range from being non toxic and non hazardous to being the magic word “ECO-FRIENDLY”. It does not leach out and is stable at high temperatures. It can be incorporated into polymeric applications as well as be used to give a coating on wood surfaces and timber derivatives. It is available in Liquid as well as lacquer form. Moreover, the most important characteristic of Termirepel®™ is that it does not kill the target species. It works on the principle of REPELLANCE only. This product is niche and one of its kinds.  This product will come as sigh of relief for people long suffering from “Termite Abuse”, especially when the termites are as destructive as Mastotermes darwiniensis.

 

Bed bug- The peace pillager!!

Ever been woken up from your blissful slumber by the tingly and crawly sensation of something wandering all over you??

Caution:  Don’t shrug it off as just a feeling… you are not imagining it, it’s real, and it’s a bed bug!!

Bed bugs are the uninvited guests of the rich as well as poor. They are like the unwelcome party crashers that we all detest!! The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has long been a pest – feeding on blood, causing itchy bites and generally irritating their human hosts.

Bed bugs are basically parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. download (4)The name “bed bug” is derived from the preferred habitat of Cimex lectularius: warm houses and especially nearby or inside of beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively nocturnal. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed. Bed bugs are attracted to their hosts primarily by carbon dioxide, secondarily by warmth, and also by certain chemicals. Bedbugs prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck and arms of a sleeping individual. Although under certain cool conditions adult bed bugs can live for over a year without feeding, under typically warm conditions they will try to feed at five to ten day intervals and adults can survive for about five months without food.

images (3)It takes between five and ten minutes for a bed bug to become completely engorged with blood. In all, the insect may have spent less than 20 minutes in physical contact with its host, and it will not attempt to feed again until it has either completed a molt or, if an adult has thoroughly digested the meal.

Once feeding is complete, a bed bug will relocate to a place close to a known host, commonly in or near beds or couches in clusters of adults, juveniles, and eggs which entomologists call  harborage areas or simply harborages to which the insect will return after future feedings by following chemical trails. Bed bugs use pheromones and kairomones to communicate regarding nesting locations, feeding and reproduction.

Bed bugs can also be detected by their characteristic smell of rotting raspberries.

“Wherever bed bugs are, one thing holds true – they cause a lot of troubles.”

In the recent spate of events worldwide, images (2)beg bugs are proving to be a beneficial source of income for lawyers!! As was reported by Mail online on 3rd June 2013, a Maryland woman was awarded $800k after suing landlord over bedbug infestation that caused her to lose “practically everything”!! The ruling was one of the largest – if not the largest – amounts awarded in this sort of law suit, was the experts’ opinion.

In another recent incident reported on 30th July, 2013 the very famous Dunn Hotel in North Carolina was closed owing to a suspected wide spread bed bug infestation. Investigators discovered remnants of bedbugs in bed frames and windowsills.

In December 2010, Adarien Jackson of Severn, Maryland filed a bed bug suit against a furniture store where she brought her sons’ bunks. A little more than a year later, the mother-of-two was favored by jury granting her $225,000 in damage.

For most people, bedbugs are not life-threatening — at least, not physically. Between 50% and 70% of people are allergic to the bites, and will develop itchy welts, similar to mosquito bites. In a few cases, the bugs have been linked to asthama attack, and persistent assaults from the vampiric visitors can potentially lead to anemia. But while the physical effects of bedbugs are negligible, their emotional and psychological impact can be devastating. Dr. Jones, an associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University notes that “bedbug victims can lose lots of sleep and can become very anxious, or even panic-stricken.” Some develop delusional parasitosis, a mental disorder in which sufferers become convinced that they are being bitten by bugs, even when they are not. Jones stresses that this condition can have brutal physical and emotional effects.
images (1)The Environmental Protection Agency has declared bedbugs a public health pest and, in April 2009, it held a national bedbug summit to solicit recommendations for
dealing with the growing menace. In it, the group highlighted the emotional and psychological effects of bedbugs, arguing that the definition of public health needed to be enlarged to include “overall wellness [and] mental health.” It also addressed the dangers of bedbug-inspired insomnia, noting that loss of sleep could be disastrous for “pilots, flight attendants, and other professionals.”

Thus the bed bug menace needs to be dealt with in an effective and permanent way!! C Tech Corporation has with the aid of green technology and great vision, designed a product that provides an effective solution against bed bugs. Termirepel ®™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest aversive. Basically designed to combat termites, it works effectively against a multitude of other insects including bed bugs.

Termirepel®™ works by the mechanism of repellence by virtue of which it does not allow the insect/pest to come near the application and thus it negates the possibility of an infestation. Moreover it is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form to be applied on wood and other furniture. Thus it is easy to apply and safe to use.

Termirepel®™ can guarantee all of us the sweet joy of an uninterrupted sleep that we deserve by keeping the crawlers at bay!!

 

Carpenter Ants parading in our homes!

Nature is a truly great teacher. Even a tiny being of our eco-system has images (3) something great to teach us. Have you ever observed a line of ants crawling towards the source of their beloved glucose? If not then do so, they certainly have lot to teach us. Observing them closely gives us the feeling as if there is an army of soldiers marching out to fight a war.   Ants guard their flanks, as human soldiers might for a civilian convoy. They work as a team in a very organized manner, infact there are some Management theories developed observing the ant behavior.

We think these ants are oblivious to us and the potential threat we pose: they are mostly focused on their immediate surroundings in the insect world and hunt for food. The truth however is that we are oblivious to the danger that these ants pose. We think of them just as nuisance in our home attacking our food items, but they do more that.

images (4)On closely observing, we can see there are tiny holes in the region where the ants are present; be it plaster, plastic or wood. Carpenter ants, larger than normal red ants are one such species of ants known to damage wood. They are dark in color and are found in many parts of the world. Carpenter ants may not be as fast-moving as termites in their destruction of property but can be still credited with causing millions of dollars in structural damage.

carpantCarpenter ants eat both plant and animal matter. Their natural food sources are insects, other small invertebrates, and sweet body fluids from aphids and other insects. Protein and sweet foods found in and around homes also provide food for foraging workers. Ants do not have the ability to digest the wood but they excavate through them to find their food.

1015f01Carpenter ants build nests by burrowing into wood. They dig tunnels called galleries much longer than those created by termites. The wood is not eaten, but thrown from the nest as sawdust-like shavings.

Carpenter ants live in large colonies with hundreds of workers, several males and females that reproduce, and one or more queen. When part of an established colony goes into a nearby structure, it sometimes establishes a smaller satellite colony there. Some experts believe this is the main way carpenter ants invade houses.

It is said; ”They can set up shop just about anywhere in the house, and several hundred to a thousand ants can set up a satellite colony literally overnight.”

imagesThey nest in both damp and dry wood but damp wood is their preferential choice. Thus their nests are more likely to be found in the wood dampened by water leaks such as around the sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed windows, door frames, roof etc.  Their nests are especially in moist common hollow spaces such as the wall void behind the dishwasher or in a hollow porch column. Some types of carpenter ants build their nest in the crown of the roots, tree stump etc. This type can be introduced in the home if the logs with their nest are brought in, however they are incapable of rebuilding their nest in the home environment.

The task of finding their nest in the wood is difficult as these tiny creatures carpenter_ants_38_0_1leave no external sign of damage on the wood. To check if the wood harbors the ant nest, one can probe the wood with screw drivers which will help to reveal the excavated galleries. Another way to locate their nest is to tap the wooden surface listening to the hollow sound of the damaged wood and if you listen really carefully the carpenter ants actually replies back to you making a ‘rustling’ sound within the nest, similar to the crinkling of cellophane.

The damage to wood structures is variable. The longer a colony is present in a structure, the greater the damage that can be done. If structural wood is weak, carpenter ant damage can be more severe.

Carpenter ants have an odd habit: They go into a sort of hibernation during the winter, starting in November. In cold regions, the ants remain dormant until March. Thus they are mostly found lurking around in the spring season.

Carpenter Ants Nailing down Title as summer’s First Pest

May 31, 1994, Chicago Turbine

A story attributed an anecdote about carpenter ants and how one homeowner’s attempt to squash a lone carpenter ant in her bathtub by jumping on it resulted in the tub crashing through the floorboards because their supports had been weakened by the ants. The story was related by Dave Shangle of Anderson Pest Control. 

It is common knowledge that carpenter ants destroy wood but there have been an incident where carpenter ants were found guilty of causing a leak in plastic water pipe. Hence now along with wood, now they even pose a threat to plastic pipes.

Extermination with chemicals, the solution used by everyone does not solve the problem of these ants. They hide in their hidey holes and creep back again once the extermination process is complete.

C Tech Corporation provides a solution Termirepel®™ which is very effective, long lasting and Green which is the need of the hour. The most important unique quality of the product is that it is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly. Termirepel®™ helps keep termites, ants and 500 other species at bay and protects the application. It is available in solution and lacquer form which can be coated on the wood or can be injected in the wood at high pressure. It can be mixed with paints, varnish, etc to be coated on the application.It is also available in masterbatch and can be incorporation in pipes, cables, film etc. The product is stable at high polymer processing temperature and does not produce any toxic fumes.The most important feature of this product is that it does not aid in killing the termites and other insects but efficiently repels them. Moreover the product does not leach out from the application thus ensuring that the application is protected for a longer duration.

The Asian Giant Hornet- A threat to honey bees…

Ever heard of the phrase “to stir up a hornet’s nest”??

Usually used to denote an action leading to undesirable and grave consequences the phrase stands true to itself. Indeed the hornets are scary and dangerous creatures and you sure don’t want to stir up their nest!!

The Asian Giant Hornets are the larger breed of waspsdownload (2) that are eusocial in nature much similar to bees, ants and termites. There are plenty of varieties of hornets, and some of them are known for their venomous stings. The most feared among them is the deadly Asian giant hornet which has the most venomous sting of all insects. This species is native of the tropics and can be found in numbers especially in eastern Asia. The Asian giant hornet - Vespa mandarinia is the world’s largest hornet, native to temperate and tropical Eastern Asia. It can be found in some regions of Russia, Korea, Indochina, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka, but is most common in rural areas of Japan, where it is called giant sparrow bee. These hornets are aggressive and fearless which spells doom for their victims!

Their hierarchy is based on their ability to reproduce and hence is divided as the reproductive queens and sterile soldiers and workers. The average adult Asian hornet images (12)soldier or worker grows up to 4.5 cm and the queen about 5.5 cm in length. The wing span is about 76 mm and its 6 mm sting helps in injecting venom into the body of its prey. It has a wide head when compared to the other vespain species. The stinger of the Asian Giant Hornet is 1/4 inch long and because it has no barb, the Asian Giant Hornet is able to sting its victims multiple times.

The venom injected by the stinger is incredibly potent and contains eightdownload different chemicals, each with a specific purpose. These range from tissue degeneration and breathing difficulties, to making the sting more painful and even attracting other hornets to the victim. Their venom contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin (MDTX), a single-chain polypeptide with a molecular weight of approximately 20,000 amu, which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient. Being stung by one according to some accounts feels a lot like having a hot nail hammered into you!!

The Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is a subspecies of the Asian Giant Hornet (V. mandarinia). It is a large insect and adults can be more than 4 cm (1.6 in) long, with a wingspan greater than 6 cm (2.4 in). It has a large yellow head with large eyes, and a dark brown thorax with an abdomen banded in brown and yellow.  They are nicknamed as “Yak killers” precisely because they’re capable of doing it! The Japanese Asian Hornet is the ultimate killer insect of Japan, responsible for 20 to 40 human deaths each year. As was reported by Japan Today on 27th September, 2010; 8 policemen were attacked by these hornets in a park while they were on duty.

The prime food of the Asian giant hornet is bees!! They love to feast on bees and other images (2)pollinators. The attack is carried out in a wonderful manner – two or three soldier hornets cautiously approach an identified nest while giving off pheromones. Pheromones attract the other hornets from the nest and together they attack the bee colony. Such synchronized attacks can completely devastate a honey bee colony as the bees stand no chance against these venomous creatures. Asian giant hornets in spite of being bee attackers never feed on them. Fact remains that they cannot digest solid protein. They never can feed on their prey – instead they attack large insects, chew on them and feed them to their larvae. The adult soldiers feed on an amino acid mixture that is secreted by the larvae. JapaneseGiantHornetThis clear liquid is the diet for these humongous hornets. Vespa Amino acid is strong in nutrients which help in keeping up the required nourishment for these large sized bugs. The saliva produced by the larvae of the Asian Giant Hornet is said to give them their renowned energy and stamina when consumed by the adult hornets on a regular basis. When chasing their prey, they have been reported travelling distances of up to 60 miles, at a top speed of 25 mph.

Interesting facts about these hornets:

  • Asian Killer Hornets are five times the size of European Honey Bees!
  • A single Asian hornet is capable of killing 40 honey bees within a minute!
  • 30 Asian giant hornets destroying the hives of 30k bees within 3 hrs time!

In the recent times the Asian giant hornet is said to have made its way to Britain where it is threatening the population of the European honey bees as these honey bees don’t stand a chance against the deadly hornets. Considering that the prime victims of these hornet attacks are our most important pollinators i.e. bees, the mayhem that they cause needs to be controlled!

C Tech Corporation has with the aid of green technology and great vision, designed the product Termirepel™ that can aid in the protection of honey bees from these vicious hornets. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous insect and pest aversive. Basically designed to combat termites, it works effectively against a multitude of other insects including wasps and hornets.

Termirepel™ works by the mechanism of repellence by virtue of which it does not allow the insect/pest to come near the application and thus it negates the possibility of an infestation. Moreover it is available in the form of polymer compatible masterbatches as well as in lacquer form to be applied on wood and other furniture. Thus it is easy to apply and safe to use. Also since it is non-toxic it will not cause any harm to the non-target species like bees.

 

Tiny beetles cause millions in damage!

The earth is surrounded by some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects. About 40% of all known insect species are beetles.

It’s tiny. It’s scary. It likes to travel.

Khapra beetle is one of the world’s most destructive pests of grain alg-khapra-beetle-jpgproducts and seeds. These beetles are also called cabinet beetle. Infestations are difficult to control because of the insect’s ability to survive without food for a long period. They are brownish and 1.6-1.3mm long and covered the dense reddish-brown hair. The eggs of the khapra beetle are cylindrical with one end more rounded. This insect is well established in the hot, dry climates of Africa, the Mediterranean, and South East Asia. They mostly damage cereal products particularly wheat, barley, oats, maize, rice, flour, malt, and noodles. They can feed on products with as little as 2% moisture content and can develop on animal matter such as dead mice, dried blood, and dried insects.

imagesThe Khapra beetle is labeled as a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, and because it contaminates grain with body parts and hairs. These contaminants may cause gastrointestinal irritation in adults and especially harm the infants. Khapra beetles are immune to insecticides and fumigants.

The larvae, if left untreated, can reduce grain weight by as much as 70% and unfavorably change the chemical composition of stored rice or other grain. Human ingestion of foods containing the Khapra Bug can require hospitalization due to extreme digestive problems.

According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, concluded that Khapra beetle is a big nuisance. The eradication efforts of these beetles are of great cost to the American Tax payers.

California implemented extensive eradication measures following Khapra beetle infestation discovered there in 1953. The efforts were deemed successful, but at a cost of approximately $11 million. If we estimate it in today’s world it will cost up to $90 million.

USDA even banned the import of rice from countries where Khapra beetles are found at large. These restrictions were due to the increasing number of eppo11detection of the infested shipments of rice from those countries

20% loss in weight of seeds is observed within a storage period of 6 months under natural condition. In India average damage level ranges from 6-33% of grain in a single storage season with maximum damage of 73%. Loss of weight in wheat ranges from 2.2-5.5%. It is reported that 15% infestation level caused 26% loss in weight and 24% in viability of wheat grains in few month of storage.

The general used method for the problem of the infestation is fumigation. Methyl bromide or phosphine is usually the chemical of choice. Because of Khapra beetle’s habit of hiding in every conceivable crack and crevices, the entire storage facility and its contents must be fumigated.

Fumigation is not very effective and also is highly toxic, hazardous and it deteriorates the quality of food which can cause many health hazards to humans.

mulching-film-250x250C Tech Corporation caters with its niche product Termirepel™ which is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environmental friendly and repels 500 species of insects. Its life span is 25-40 years depending on the end application. It can be easily incorporated in agricultural tubing and hosing, drip irrigation, agricultural films, tarps, mulches. As it does not leach out from the application it does not contaminate ground water and soil.

Termirepel can also be used in the silage bags to store grain as Khapra beetles infest stored grain and in tarps to cover the store grain.

Coptotermes acinaciformis: Timber Destroyer

Be it homeowners, hotel owners, library owners or images (32)theatre owners, they have one enemy in common and they are termites!! And when they are as dangerous as Coptotermes acinaciformis, there is a great reason to worry about. Let’s get to know more about these species.

Coptotermes acinaciformis can be found in widespread areas throughout Australia. They are predominantly found in urban areas and where eucalyptus are abundant. They are the second most destructive termite in Australia and cause the greatest amount of structural damage to buildings, timber structures, trees and electrical wiring.

These species are most commonly found in the base of trees and stumps and in built in patios, images (31)under concrete slabs and buried timber, wherever there is moisture and a secure hiding place to form a nest. They love it between garden sheds and the fence when timber is left there. One of the most destructive elements of this species is that it can form ancillary nests, away from the main colony, particularly in wall cavities.

Coptotermes acinaciformis are subterranean termite species 5.0-6.6 mm in length, and they have sabre like the mandibles with no obvious teeth. The labrum is not grooved and the head is pear shaped and rounded laterally. Fontanelle is obvious on the anterior part of the head. Tarsi (skeleton) have 4 segments and abdominal cerci have 2 segments. It pronotum(dorsal) is flat and it does not have any anterior lobe.

The life cycle of these species is a gradual process. Queen lays eggs singly. A nymph after hatching passes through 4-7 moults before becoming a mature worker, soldier or winged reproductive. Nymphs resemble the adults or mature castes. Nymphal stage lasts approximately 2-3 months, depending of food and climatic conditions. No pupal stage exists. Soldiers and workers live for 1-2 years.

There are 4 different castes of adults:

1. Queen and King:

The queen and king are the original winged reproductives (dealates). When a new colony is formed the pair must feed and care for the young until there are sufficient soldiers and workers to take over the duties of the colony.

2.   Worker:

This is the most abundant caste in the colony, performing all the tasks except defence and reproduction. It is this caste that does damage to timber. These are the males and females whose sexual organs and characteristics have not developed. They are wingless, blind and sterile. They also have a thin cuticlewhich makes them susceptible to desiccation. They are the kind of species which will leave the security of underground tunnels and shelter tubes only when humidity is high or in the search for new food sources.

 3.    Soldier:

This is the most distinctive and the easiest caste from which to identify a species. The role of this caste is to defend the colony. These consist of males and females whose sexual organs and characteristics have not developed. Li ke the workers caste, they are susceptible to dessication and seldom leave the colony or shelter ubes. The fontanelle is used to discharge a secretion associated with defence, since it is a repellent to ants and other enemies of termites.

4.    Reproductive:

They are the future kings and queens.download 45 Having compound eyes, they are darker in colour and have a more dense cuticle than workers and soldiers. They are often large. When fully winged(alates) a colonising flight will occur when humidity and temperature conditions outside approximate the conditions inside the colony, normally in summer months.

These mostly nests in trees, stumps, poles or filled-in verandahs where timber has been buried. Soil contact is desirable, but not essential depending on an assured water supply and security in its habitat.

Workers feed on wood, wood products, leaves, bark and grass. The cellulose of wood is digested by intestinal protozoa. The other castes are fed by the workers from oral and anal excretions. Protein is also required in the diet, which is usually supplied by fungi that decay wood and vegetation.

Coptotermes “acinaciformis” gets its name from the fact that the soldiers excrete formic acid from their mouths when termite_hot_spots_smallthey are threatened. This poses a problem for wiring in buildings infested with this species. These are most widely distributed timber pest in Australia, accounting for more than 70% of the serious damage to buildings in New South Wales. A single colony may consist of more than one million termites.

The destruction caused by these species is unprecedented. Our product Termirepel™ is ideal solution for this problem. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, eco-friendly insect and pest aversive. It is a broad spectrum aversive, designed for protection against termites but is effective against a multitude of other insects and pests.

It is used against Termites of all classes successfully. It can be incorporated into polymeric application in terms of masterbatches and can also be used to give a coating as it is available in liquid as well as lacquer form. The lacquer form can easily be used to coat a wooden product as these species clearly target timberdownload (18) and its derivatives.

Termirepel™ has unique qualities , it does not leach out of the end application, it can withstand high temperatures, it does not kill the target species i.e. termites and last but not the least it is one of the answers to our deteriorating environment: It is ECOFRIENDLY.

Termite aggression in Australia!!

“Deforestation is illegal in most parts of the world and by this rule all the termites should be locked up for having the capability to destroy the forest!!”

Every living being present on this planet exists with the purpose of completing the ecosystem with a role for each one.  A termite also exists in the environment with the same agenda. They fulfill their duty by helping to degrade and decay the wood. They have however taken this agenda way too far and have started destroying the wood used by man!!

downloadTermites are the greatest cause of economic losses of timber service and are significant factors in the degradation of the logs growing in the forest. There are varieties of termite species, all capable of destroying the wood and making the life of people a living hell. Worldwide the problem of termites is becoming a nuisance as it results in huge monetary losses. Australia is one of the many countries which suffer from the termite problem. But the studies carried out concluded that most of the aggressive species of the termites are found in Australia. There are about 350 termite species in Australia but only less than 10 among them are known to cause 99% of the damage to wood while the rest of them feed on leaf and grass. Schedorhinotermes intermedius and  Nasutitermes Walkeri are among few of those vicious species which cause damage.

The most damaging termites are subterranean termites. Subterranean termites are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to domestic and commercial buildings. They live and nest in the soil sometimes inside a tree or log but they almost always come from the soil to get into our buildings. Mound building termites are of course, subterranean. All subterranean termites obtain their necessary constant source of moisture from the soil. Both the Schedorhinotermes intermedius and Nasutitermes Walkeri are subterranean termites.

download (1)Taxonomically speaking, Schedorhinotermes intermedius belong to the family: Rhinotermitidae; subfamily: Rhinotermitinae; Genus: intermidius

They mostly prefer moist region and avoid cold areas. They are widespread, being found in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

They nest in tree stumps, root crowns, under timber buried in the ground, under houses, under filled patios and fire places. They are known to build multi nests and each nest harbors about 100,000 individuals capable of causing damage to the building in the radius of 50 m. The nest of this species is often built in the hollow center of the trunk or in the crown area leaving no superficial trace of their presence.

images (1)Colonies include a queen, king, soldiers, workers/ reproductive. This species is typified by two soldier castes: major soldiers with bulbous heads and 5 to 7.5mm length and smaller minor soldiers 3 to 5.5mm length with narrower heads and more slender mandibles. The minor soldiers appear first in the developing colony, followed by the major soldiers once the nest is well established. Their abundance usually indicates a well-developed and strong colony with increasing    potential for damaging timber.

The following physiology should be looked for while identifying Schedorhinotermes intermedius;

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  • The cigar-shaped body is white and not sclerotised.
  • Head: The head is pale to dark brown and heavily sclerotised.
  • Mandibles of the soldier caste have teeth.
  • A rather small fontanelle is located behind the anterior margin of the head. Antennae are bead-like (moniliform) and as long as the head.
  • Eyes are small and maybe reduced to a small number of facets. Thorax: Adult termites generally lack wings.

Once the house is infested with this species it becomes very difficult to get rid of them. The reason for this is that the Schedorhinotermes species of termites are very timid and if you disturb them enough, they get up and they move to another part of the building and start eating, making them very hard to treat. Another reason why Schedorhinotermes termites’ species are so painful to deal with is that they can work within the timber quite easily causing extensive damage to your house without showing any signs or termite mud.

They are second to Coptotermes species in economic pest status in most parts of world, with their attack taking place under the protection of extensive deposits of fragile “plastering”. The excavations are fairly clean with characteristic plaster-like earthen workings separating the termites from the adjacent environment. It is very difficult to evaluate the damage caused to buildings without a very thorough survey of their activity. They eat softwood and hardwood timbers, favoring weathered and moist timber. They tend to prefer the softer timbers, such as pine, however it is not uncommon to see solid hardwood turned to tissue paper.

images Nasutitermes Walkeri commonly called as tree termites is 14th in the taxonomy lineage of the family Eukaryotes. They build arboreal nest which usually have ground contact starting from the crown of the root. There are very large and sometimes reach a untitledheight upto 20m. There are mostly found in New South Whales, Queensland, Victoria and parts of Western Australia.

This termite is much darker in color than other termite species found in Australia. Termites in the genus Nasutitermes can easily be identified by the sharp point at the front of their head on the soldier caste; unlike most termite soldiers which have two separated mandibles, this species head is shaped with a sharp point or snout to replace the incisors.

images (3) Their colony consists of king, queen, soldiers, workers and reproductive. Workers are the most abundant and perform all the activities except for protection. The protection of the mound is undertaken by the soldiers of the colony which are most distinctive and easiest caste from which to identify the species. They defend their colony by using their fontanelle to discharge a secretion which repels ants and other enemies

They are characterized by;

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  • 5- 7mm in length
  • Fontanelle present
  • Tarsi-4 segment
  • Pronotum saddle shaped, anterior lobes

The main food source of this species is decaying or weathered timber. Nasutitermes Walkeri does not create the same widespread damage to buildings as that by Schedorhinotermes intermedius and Coptotermes acinaciformis, but can cause damage to damp or decaying sub floors in badly ventilated areas and any wood left in contact with the soil.

images (2)Nasutitermes Walkeri can travel a long distance in search of food, thus making it very difficult to find their nest.

One can say they are the most subtle of the termites and which damages the hardwood very rarely. They infest the house heavily but the damage is not every significant. However they are a threat to damp hardwood flooring, the wood in contact with the soil. And even if they cause less damage, no one wants any type of infestation in their house!

These species both present in Queensland and South Wales regions have caused a lot of trouble to the residents.

 It’s estimated that one in five Australian homes are damaged by termites, with the bill reaching $780 million a year.

The cost to fix termite damage is rarely covered by insurance.

Home owners have tried four times to stop termites from destroying their New South Wales home.

They’ve spent $4000 on the supposed termite solutions, but the damage is now so severe their home will have to be demolished.

“It’s very disheartening, (the house) that we’ve been working for will have to be knocked down,” Mr Sandford said.

“In three years you think they would have fixed the problem by now.”

Arsenic dust is sprayed to combat the termite infestation problem. Arsenic Trioxide is a heavy white powder which is odorless and tasteless, and only slightly soluble in water. It is highly toxic orally to mammals and insects but does not easily penetrate intact skin or insect cuticle. The main risks to users are either from entry via skin wounds or by breathing floating dust. Some users may develop dermatitis if there is frequent skin contamination. So should this approach be continued at the expense of the human health?

We at C Tech Corporation have come up with a novel solution for the termite problem. Termirepel™, is a non toxic, non hazardous and environment friendly aversive which repels the termites and prevent the application from the wrath of such aggressive termites. Along with termites they even help in keeping ants, mosquitoes and near about 500 insect species at bay. It is available in solution and lacquer form which can be coated on the wood or can be injected in the wood at high pressure. It can be mixed with paints, varnish, etc to be coated on the application.

The most important feature of this product is that it does not aid to kill the termites and other insects but efficiently repels them. Moreover the product does not leach out from the application coated with it.

Australia held hostage- by vicious termites!!

“Termites are a bane to human existence!!”

Of the 2,300 species of termites known to exist in the world, only 183 are known to cause damage to structures, and of these, 83 have a significant economic impact!

Subterranean termites account for about 80 percentsub2 of the economically important species, and the genus Coptotermes contains the largest number of economically important species. Many thousand dollars are spent annually to combat these inconspicuous creatures. Control of subterranean termites and repair of their damage in the United States results in a total economic impact of about $6.0 billion per year. These Subterranean termites attack untreated wood and some also attack live trees. They are a huge problem in moist, warm climates along the western, southern, and southeastern coasts of the continental United States and in subtropical and tropical locations of the United States and its protectorates and possessions. They pose a significant hazard to the numerous Eucalyptus trees planted as ornamentals, as windbreaks, or for fiber.

They are the cause of great economic losses of timber and related services all over the world especially in Australia. Only a few of the more than 300 species found in Australia are responsible for structural timber damage. In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) region there are approximately 30 kinds of termites, although only a few cause extensive damage to sound timber. The two species that do most damage are Coptotermes frenchi and Nasutitermes exitiosus. Nasutitermes exitiosus are also associated with trees. Coptotermes frenchi and Nasutitermes exitiosus can establish nests if winged adults discover a damp area in the house, such as a shower recess or where the hot water system has leaked. They survive in places where water is readily available.

 download (1)Nasutitermes exitiosus species is found most predominantly in southern Queensland and across most of the southern states of Australia. It is easily recognizable because, unlike other termite species, it has a dark pointed head, which makes it stand out. Nasutitermes exitiosus builds a mounded nest that is generally between 250mm and 700mm high. Their nests are generally found under decks and in sub-floors areas. They can cause a huge amount of damage to most wooden structures, especially hardwood fences, posts and sub-floors places where the timber is in direct contact with the earth or if the wood is damp or rotting. While this species is not as destructive as other termite species, left to their own devices they can still cause some serious problems. They are more of a problem for older homes that have not been well maintained where the timber has become wet. Interestingly this termite species has its own qualms regarding food. They do not like pine varieties, preferring the sapwood of hardwoods.

Defensive behavior of these termites was observed by images (2)scientists from Cornwell University, NY. The termites were confronted with live enemies like ants and other arthropods. It was observed that both soldiers and workers take part in the defensive actions. The weapon of destruction of the soldier termite is a spray from its frontal gland which causes irritation and has the capacity to hinder the mobility of the ant. The soldier’s secretion is an effective alarms pheromone. Once a target has been sprayed, the other soldiers converge around it. Attraction is effective around 30mm. The worker termites have no special weapons, but they can effectively bite. Ants may be crushed by the bites, or they may be slowed down by workers clamped to them with their mandibles and thereby rendered more vulnerable to being sprayed by soldiers. The substance in the secretion responsible for the alarm response remains unknown. The workers are essentially unalarmed by fresh secretion. Recruited soldiers tend to remain longer beside a “lively” sprayed enemy than beside one that has already ceased moving. It is suggested that in nature, sprayed incapacitated enemies might be covered over by the workers with feces and soil, a behavior that could bring about a timelier blockage of the alarm signal.

Nasutitermes exitiosus is almost invariably a mound builder in Canberra. If N. exitiosus is found it is likely there is a mound within 30-50 meters of the infested area, often in adjacent bush land. Nasutitermes exitiosus nests when opened have a distinct and characteristic odor which is thought to be associated with repellant exudates from the fontanelle at the tip of the nasus.

images (5) Another important species of termites which pose a threat to wooden structures are the widely infamous Coptotermes Frenchi. They  can be found right down the east coast of Australia but are predominantly found in New South Wales and the Australian Capital territory (ACT) in particular, where it is rated as the most destructive termite species in the area. Coptotermes frenchi distributionextends from north Queensland to Western Australia in eucalyptus communities. Coptotermes frenchi has also become established in New Zealand, most likely introduced from Australia in imported logs.

They may travel underground up to 70mp1 from the colony in search of food. They are particularly partial to eucalyptus and as such are commonly found in urban areas where eucalyptus is abundant. In the ACT many houses have pine or Oregon softwood frames, a favorite of this species. Because these subterranean termites can infest numerous tree species and wood in use, the presence of an acceptable host is not the critical factor. Rather, a suitable environment with an adequate supply of wood and appropriate temperature and moisture conditions are the key factors to their survival and proliferation. The initiation of a colony is a slow process, but wood in ground contact, moist wood in structures, and suitable host trees with scars or wounds at ports and storage facilities may provide an infestation site. The adults (alates) fly only about 100 m, but are capable of moving up to 1 km depending on wind conditions and weather.

These subterranean termites are highly destructive. Soldier termites produce milky liquid from a gland on their head when disturbed. Coptotermes frenchi is responsible for major damage to buildings, fences, posts, stumps and eucalypt trees. It is common for this species to devour timber framing leaving only a thin veneer. This species is the most shy of the destructive species; they will retreat from a location immediately (for the time being) if disturbed. They hollow out the upper part of the tree trunk. They feed on a range of timbers.

images (4)Nasutitermes exitiosus is almost invariably a mound builder in Canberra. If N. exitiosus is found it is likely there is a mound within 30-50 meters of the infested area, often in adjacent bush land. Coptotermes frenchi mostly nest in old eucalypt tree trunks. If these termites are detected, all large eucalyptus trees (trunks greater than 30 cm in basal diameter) or stumps within 60 meters should be checked. One indication of termite activity within trees is the presence of hollow broken branches. This is only indicative and a more reliable method is to test by drilling the tree. A drill auger (not larger than 19 mm diameter) should be used to bore holes towards the centre of the tree. If termites are present the centre will be hollow or filled with ‘mudguts’ and the auger will suddenly penetrate the tree easily. A thermometer may be used to determine if the nest has been located. Nests are a constant temperature of 300 deg Celsius. The installation of barriers, either physical or chemical, has also been used as a method to prevent termites from entering buildings.

Considering the potential for damage that these termite species have exhibited a reliable method to combat them needs to be devised.  C Tech Corporation has come up with such a novel product in the form of Termirepel™. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, eco-friendly and completely non-hazardous termite repellant which is effective against even the most aggressive and destructive termite species like the ones encountered above!!

Termirepel™ works by the mechanism of repellence by virtue of which it does not allow the termites to come near the application and thus it negates the possibility of an infestation. The product is designed to not only counter the termite menace but is also effective against a host of other insects and pests. Termirepel™ can be applied over wooden articles in the form of a lacquer or finish. It is approved by NEA (National Environmental Agency) for use on wooden articles.

If Australia is to be protected against the vicious Nasutitermes exitiosus and Coptotermes frenchi  Termirepel ™is its best bet!!

 

 

Deadly Formosan Termites

Formosan subterranean termite is often known as image super-termite because of its destructive habits. They are mainly located in warm climates native range in southern China to Formosa South Africa, Hawaii &in the continental United States. These termites have large sized colonies and they have the ability to consume wood at a rapid rate. A mature Formosan colony can consume as much as 13 ounces of wood a day. Termites are social insects and they use naphthalene as a protective poison. The termites’ have the ability to consume wood at a rapid rate. A Formosan colony will eat about 1000 pounds per year. A queen termite can lay 2000 to 3000 eggs a day.

Subterranean-TermitesFormosan subterranean termite is the most economically serious pest in Hawaii, costing residents $100 million a year.  In New Orleans, 30-50% of the city’s 4,000 historic live Oak trees are believed to be infected with total damage costing the city $300 million a year.

These termites had a greatest impact in North America. Lax and Osbrink (2003) states that, Formosans termites is currently one of the most destructive pests in the USA.

In 1998, the U.S. Congress took action–appropriating $5 million to fund the termite-fighting project.

It has been reported that Formosan termites cause about $300 million in damage in New Orleans each year. They have already been found in at least 11 states, and scientist said that the Formosan termites attack with such a vengeance that they make domestic termites seem almost tame.

Thousand of trees have been killed by the termites many of which have fallen on structures which causes even more damage. Estimated wood loss from Formosan termite varied depending on region and tree species. Mean wood loss in Charleston was estimated at 3% for all tree species, and was greatest in maples at 11.9%, whereas in New Orleans wood loss was estimated at 12%, and was greatest in cypress at 27%.

Director of the New Orleans Mosquito and termite Control Board, Ed Bords estimates that 30% of the city’s live oaks and cypress trees are now infested.

Scientists had also thought termites were pretty wellhi_4115 isolated in the Deep South, but that clearly has changed. Damage estimates across states now range between $1 billion and $2 billion per year.

Domestic colonies will eat about 7 pounds of wood per year. A Formosan colony will eat about 1000 pounds per copy.

They don’t just eat wood, sometimes they can even eat the seals out of high pressure inside. They can also eat cement, brick, plastic and other materials to get to food and water.

There are many conventional methods used for protection against Termites. The chemical treatments are as follows:

Conventional barrier treatments-The most common technique for treating termite infestations is the soil-applied barrier treatment. In this toxic hazardous chemical are uses for treating the soil. Some of the termites are Acetamiprid, Bifenthrin, Chlorantruniliprole, Chlorfenapyr, Cyfluthrin, Cypermethrin, Permethrin etc.

In Fumigation they use toxic gas to penetrate the wooden parts of a structure and kill the termites.

Other termites can also be treated by injecting poison into the ground but Formosan termites can just move their nests above ground, thus avoiding the toxins. The most potent treatment is chlordane which is being used since 1988. But it remains active in the soil for 25 years and threatens human health as well as other animals.

Swarmers Formosan termites: The most common sign of images (3)a termite infestation is swarming reproductive termites on window sills or near indoor lights. Formosan termites swarm at night and are attracted to lights. The presence of Formosan termite swarms indicates a nearby colony and that they may be attacking a nearby building or tree. During early summer this condition is generally arises.

News article shows how swarming Formosan termite’s effects-:termites

Termites don’t get affected by these toxic conventional methods as they have highly sensitive olfactory sensors, termites use pheromones (chemical transfer to communicate) due to which they can easily detect the hazard. These toxic products like permethrin, cypermethrin, Bifenthrin etc can only deteriorate the ground water, soil quality and can kill the useful species. There should be a non-toxic solution for tackling these destructive super termites.

Ctech Corporation caters a solution to this problem with its niche product Termirepel which is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environmentally friendly. Termirepel works on a mechanism which doesn’t kill the termites/ insects but keeps them away from the desired application. Its life span is 25-40 yrs depending on the application. As it is also available in solution form it can be used in the foundation for protection. It can be easily incorporated with a wide range of applications where Formosan termites cause damage. It can be used in heritage construction, furniture, agricultural film, in drip irrigation hosing and tubing; wires and cables; gas pipelines; railways etc.