Laboratory Evaluation of Food Placement and Food Types on the Feeding Preference of Reticulitermes virginicus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

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Two pieces of cardboard or filter paper were placed in a paired or split design in a choice test to examine the effect of food placement on termite food choice. When cardboard pieces were presented within an experimental unit to Reticulitermes virginicus Banks, one piece was significantly consumed more than the other in experimental units for 24 and 48 h in the paired design. In the filter paper treatments, significant differences in consumption on pieces in the split design were detected at 48 and 72 h. Bioassays that result in significant differences when food types are the same may lead to spurious conclusion about preference when food types that are not equivalent are tested. Although the paired design may overcome the tendency for termites to feed on the 1st food source encountered, the split design was a more sensitive bioassay for detecting consumption differences between cardboard and filter paper under these conditions. Feeding behavior under our conditions was affected by food placement, indicating that termites did not feed randomly. Food type also affected feeding behavior. Because termites do not feed randomly regardless of whether the paired or the split design is used, replicating control experimental units sufficiently to overcome significant differences in consumption when food types are the same is paramount.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1996

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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