Several studies have shown that Reticulitermes termites prefer food with certain types of sugars. However, the specific sugars that were preferred by the termites in each study differed. The difference between the results of these studies might be explained by differences between populations or changes in feeding responses during the active season. To address these variables, we examined the feeding response to a food source food containing glucose, sucrose, or xylose versus a food source without sugar in several populations of termites and observed whether these responses changed during the year. Termites were collected from colonies from four field sites in Missouri during the spring (May and June), summer (July and August), and fall (September and October) and tested for their response to all three sugars under laboratory conditions. Results show there are distinct differences in response to sugars between populations but only a slight seasonal effect.
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Vol. 103 • No. 6