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Damage and ecological characteristics of termite Neotermes koshunensis on Taiwan cherry tree Cerasus campanulata in Okinawa Island

Sugio, Koji, Miyaguni, Yasushi, Yoshimura, Tsuyoshi
Journal of Asia-Pacific entomology 2018 v.21 no.4 pp. 1424-1429
Coptotermes formosanus, Neotermes koshunensis, Prunus campanulata, gardens, historic sites, parks, pests, probability, subtropics, trees, Ryukyu Archipelago
Termites are typical house pests that can also be harmful pests for living trees, although this topic has not received much attention. To clarify the damage to trees caused by dry-wood termites (Neotermes koshunensis), and the ecological characteristics of such damage, we conducted a study on Taiwan cherry trees (Cerasus campanulata) grown in parks, historical sites, and streets in the central-southern area of Okinawa Island, a subtropical region. Damage by N. koshunensis was confirmed in 21 of the 36 sites surveyed (58.3%) and in 76 of the 1076 trees surveyed (7.1%). However, damage by Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus), a house pest, was only observed at six sites (16.7%), and 10 trees (0.9%), indicating that most damage was caused by N. koshunensis. Furthermore, the probability of the presence of damaged trees close to other damaged trees was significantly higher than the probability of the presence of damaged trees close to undamaged trees, implying that destructive colonies spread from damaged trees to other trees nearby. Therefore, care for trees in the initial stages of termite invasion seems to be the best method for preventing the spread N. koshunensis damage to other trees in the same area. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report that dry-wood termite N. koshunensis are harmful pests for Taiwan cherry trees in Okinawa Island. Our results could be used to establish dry-wood termite countermeasures for garden tree species.