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Department of Entomology
Insect Notes
North Carolina's Formosan Termite Program

Field Survey - 2003


In August 2003, a 3-day survey was conducted for infestations of Formosan subterranean termite in the towns of Rutherfordton, Ruth, Spindale and Foresty City. Survey teams included personnel from:

Using the Rutherford County Cooperative Extension Center as a base of operations, the teams surveyed residential neighborhoods, commercial properties, railroad tracks and other areas for evidence of Formosan subterranean termites. Samples of termites were collected and confirmed as to termite species. Seventeen FST infestations sites were identified and the termites genetically characterized by Dr. Ed Vargo of NC State University.

Carl Falco (center), former Director of the Structural Pest Control Division of the NCDA&CS, outlines survey block assignments for survey teams. assigning survey blocks
sampling termites from a tree Ramon Ortiz (black shirt), NCDA&CS-SPC&PD Eastern District Supervisor for the SPC, along with Dan Wall (blue shirt) Plant Protection Field Supervisor, and a local pest management professional examine termites collected from an infested tree.
Formosan subterraneant termite damage and some "carton" material inside the tree. damage to tree
recording data concerning an infested tree Rutherford County Cooperative Extension Agent Jan McGuinn (left) and a local pest management professional collect specimens and record GPS coordinates and other data for a termite-infested tree at a residence.
David Spillman, a local pest management professional, checks cross ties along a decommissioned section of rail in Spindale.
checking cross ties
Ed Vargo checking  railroad cross ties Dr. Ed Vargo from NC State University checks railroad cross ties for Formosan termites. Dr. Vargo provided genetic analyses of the termites to determine which sites had different or related colonies.
A railroad crosstie heavily damaged by Formosan termites.
termite damaged cross ties
railroad tracks converted to a walking trail The survey was complicated somewhat by the fact that sections of the decommissioned railroad tracks have been covered with more than 8 inches of gravel and converted to walking/biking trails as part of the "NC Rails-Trails Program". Swarmers were subsequently picked up in a light trap.
All photographs taken by M. Waldvogel, Dept. of Entomology, NCSU.


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Formosan Termite Program Insect Notes