Subterranean termite (Blattodea: Termitoidae) pests in metropolitan Brisbane, Australia, 1997–2006: patterns and implications

Peters, Brenton C. , Perkins, Lynda E. , Cochrane, Gary H. and Zalucki, Myron P. (2017) Subterranean termite (Blattodea: Termitoidae) pests in metropolitan Brisbane, Australia, 1997–2006: patterns and implications. Austral Entomology, 56 2: 218-224. doi:10.1111/aen.12228


Author Peters, Brenton C.
Perkins, Lynda E.
Cochrane, Gary H.
Zalucki, Myron P.
Title Subterranean termite (Blattodea: Termitoidae) pests in metropolitan Brisbane, Australia, 1997–2006: patterns and implications
Journal name Austral Entomology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2052-1758
2052-174X
Publication date 2017-05-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/aen.12228
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 56
Issue 2
Start page 218
End page 224
Total pages 7
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
2303 Ecology
1102 Agronomy and Crop Science
1109 Insect Science
Abstract The distribution and abundance of subterranean termites in Brisbane, Australia, has not previously been investigated, despite the sub-tropical climate being favourable for these xylophagous insects which often cause damage to the built environment. Data on the incidence of termite infestations, including taxonomic identity, locality and site of infestation within premises were collected by a large commercial pest management company in metropolitan Brisbane during a ten-year period (1997 – 2006). General Linear Models based on a negative binomial distribution were used to examine the influence of the climatic variables of rainfall and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), and the demographic variables of premise density and socioeconomic status, on the number of termite infestations found. Two genera of termites dominated: Schedorhinotermes, which was the most abundant both indoors and outdoors, and Coptotermes. That Schedorhinotermes spp. were the major xylophagous subterranean termites recorded is unique in Australian capital cities where Coptotermes spp. usually dominate. The patterns of abundance and distribution of both genera are discussed with respect to their differing biology. SOI, premise density per ha and household income all significantly explained the variation in termite abundance reported across metropolitan Brisbane over the 10 year study. Our results shows the potential for using SOI as a predictor of termite activity. Further study is needed to more accurately correlate the key drivers of termite activity with the incidence of termite infestations in premises.
Formatted abstract
The distribution and abundance of subterranean termites in Brisbane, Australia, has not previously been investigated, despite the sub-tropical climate being favourable for these xylophagous insects which often cause damage to the built environment. Data on the incidence of termite infestations, including taxonomic identity, locality and site of infestation within premises were collected by a large commercial pest management company in metropolitan Brisbane during a ten-year period (1997 - 2006). General Linear Models based on a negative binomial distribution were used to examine the influence of the climatic variables of rainfall and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), and the demographic variables of premise density and socioeconomic status, on the number of termite infestations found. Two genera of termites dominated: Schedorhinotermes, which was the most abundant both indoors and outdoors, and Coptotermes. That Schedorhinotermes spp. were the major xylophagous subterranean termites recorded is unique in Australian capital cities where Coptotermes spp. usually dominate. The patterns of abundance and distribution of both genera are discussed with respect to their differing biology. SOI, premise density per ha and household income all significantly explained the variation in termite abundance reported across metropolitan Brisbane over the 10year study. Our results shows the potential for using SOI as a predictor of termite activity. Further study is needed to more accurately correlate the key drivers of termite activity with the incidence of termite infestations in premises.
Keyword Coptotermes
Drought
Housing density
Schedorhinotermes
Southern oscillation index (SOI)
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Fri, 26 May 2017, 14:08:01 EST by Dr Lynda Perkins on behalf of School of Biological Sciences