Dispersal flights of the Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae).
The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is a pest of major economic concern. This termite is particularly known for its tendency to establish populations in nonendemic areas via maritime vessels as well as human-aided transport of infested materials. The natural spread of this species after new introductions occurs in part by dispersal flights originating from mature colonies. Dispersal flight activity is also the primary variable for the evaluation of area-wide management programs. Few studies exist describing the dynamics and distribution of a typical dispersal flight for this species. The present study used data collected by mark-recapture of C. formosanus alates over 12 individual evenings of dispersal flights in the New Orleans French Quarter. In this study, we found that for one selected flight dispersal location, which was not affected by a high density of trap locations nearby, alates flew on average 621 m from their parent colony. A new record of a 1,300-m dispersal flight was recorded. Spatial analysis showed that neither wind nor light affected the direction of flight, which may, however, be attributed to scarce light and wind measurements in the study region.