Colony-level effects of imidacloprid in subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2010 Jun;103(3):791-8. doi: 10.1603/ec09386.


We determined the impact of imidacloprid (Premise) on colonies of Reticulitermes spp. (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) through soil applications in the field. We selected 11 houses in the Raleigh, NC, area with active termite infestations. In-ground monitoring stations (mean = 75.9 stations) were installed around each house, and samples of termites visiting the monitors, in mud tubes, as well as samples from wood debris in the yard, were collected monthly for up to 14 mo to determine the numbers and locations of colonies present before treatment. We used microsatellite genetic markers to identify individual colonies present on each property. All houses were treated with Premise 75 WSP by using an exterior perimeter/interior spot treatment. After treatment, termite samples were collected monthly for 3 mo and then quarterly for 2 yr to track the fate of colonies. Of the 12 treated colonies (those attacking structures), 75% disappeared within 90 d and were not detected again. In contrast, only 25% of 48 untreated colonies (located 2 m or further from the treatment zone) and 40% of the six likely treated colonies (located within 0.5 m of the treatment zone but not known to be attacking the structure) were not detected again during the study. Our findings are consistent with strong colony-level effects of soil treatments with imidacloprid, resulting in the suppression or elimination of Reticulitermes spp. colonies in many cases.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Housing
  • Imidazoles*
  • Insecticides*
  • Isoptera*
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds*
  • Social Behavior


  • Imidazoles
  • Insecticides
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Nitro Compounds
  • imidacloprid