Toxicity and behavioral effects of nootkatone and two of its derivatives, 1,10-dihydronootkatone and tetrahydronootkatone, to Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki were investigated on workers from two different colonies by using topical application assays, repellency assays, and sand barrier assays. The acute toxicity of the nootkatones on workers from both colonies increased as the saturation of the molecule increased, but the difference was significant for only one colony. The results of the repellency assays showed a similar trend of efficiency; the threshold concentration for significant repellency was four-fold higher in nootkatone treatments (50 ppm) than in the reduced derivatives 1,10-dihydronootkatone or tetrahydronootkatone (12.5 ppm). In sand barrier assays, a concentration of 100 ppm of any of the three chemicals significantly reduced termite survival, tunnel building, and food consumption after a 12-d exposure. Termites preexposed to100 ppm nootkatone-treated sand and placed in containers without nootkatone for 15 d continued to exhibit abnormal feeding and digging behaviors; survivorship, tunneling, and feeding activities were significantly reduced by 83.5, 63.2, and 95.4%, respectively. Termites pretreated for 12 d at concentrations of 50 and 75 ppm nootkatone and tetrahydronootkatone returned to normal digging activity after they were removed from the treatments, but their feeding activity was significantly reduced.
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Vol. 97 • No. 1