The feeding preferences of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, for commercial lumber Alaska yellow cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach; yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis Britton; northern red oak, Quercus rubra L.; redwood, Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl; and spruce (Picea spp.) were examined to determine whether the presence of the lignin-degrading basidiomycete Marasmiellus troyanus (Murrill) Singer could alter the relative preference of termites for these wood species. In paired choice tests with fungus-inoculated sawdust versus control sawdust, termites showed a strong preference for the fungus-inoculated sawdust for all wood species tested, except for Alaska yellow cedar. In a multiple-choice test using sawdust without fungus, termites showed a very strong preference for red oak sawdust over the other three species. In a paired choice test using fungus-inoculated sawdust, termites showed a preference for redwood over red oak sawdust. In a feeding test using autoclaved wood blocks without fungal decay, there was no difference in termite consumption of birch, red oak, or redwood. The relative preference of termites for redwood increased when blocks were decayed by M. troyanus for 3 and 8 wk. These results indicate that chemical modifications due to fungal decay affected the feeding preference of termites for different commercial lumber.
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Vol. 97 • No. 3