Kinetics of Uptake, Clearance, Transfer, and Metabolism of Hexaflumuron by Eastern Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

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The rates of uptake, clearance, insect-to-insect transfer, and metabolism of [14C]hexaflumuron [N-(((3,5-dichloro-4-(1,1,2,2-tetrafluroethoxy)phenyl)- amino)carbonyl)-2,6-diflurobenzamide] were measured in eastern subterranean termite workers, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), fed cellulose diets containing either 0.1 or 0.5% (wt:wt) hexaflumuron. The rate of uptake, level of maximum uptake, and amount of insect-to-insect transfer were concentration dependent. The clearance rate constant for hexaflumuron was independent of concentration, with a mean value of 3.2 × 10−3 /h. This corresponds to a mean half-life for hexaflumuron inside termites of 9 d. No evidence of metabolism of hexaflumuron to additional products was detected when extracting and examining the radioactivity contained in the fecal and regurgitated material within the termite holding apparatus 40 d after exposure to the chemical. Hexaflumuron was efficiently transferred from treated to untreated termites, through trophallaxis, resulting in spread of the toxicant throughout the insect population. The combination of uptake and efficient transfer of hexaflumuron between treated and untreated termites ensures broad distribution of the material even to insects not directly exposed to the toxicant. The distribution of hexaflumuron by termite workers, along with their minimal ability to metabolize the compound to other metabolites, and their slow ability to clear the material from the termite population results in death of the entire group of termites contained within the holding apparatus.

Keywords: Reticulitermes flavipes; Sentricon; benzylphenyl ureas; hexaflumuron; termite bait

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2000

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