Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do Termites Use "Mothballs" To Ward Off Predators?

Date:
May 6, 1998
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Just as humans may use naphthalene "moth balls" to fumigate their closets, termites may use naphthalene to protect their nests, according to a research group led by urban entomologist Gregg Henderson, Ph.D., at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Just as humans may use naphthalene "moth balls" to fumigate their closets, termites may use naphthalene to protect their nests, according to a research group led by urban entomologist Gregg Henderson, Ph.D., at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. It is the first time that naphthalene has been associated with termites, he reports in the May 1 Web edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Related Articles


A termite nest is a closed system which protects the termites in a microclimate that is controlled and different from that of the surrounding environment, Henderson says. As a soil-dwelling creature, Henderson notes, the termites confront many adversaries such as ants, fungus, bacteria, and nematodes. He believes that fumigating the nest with naphthalene and other volatile compounds may play an important role in inhibiting microorganisms and invertebrate invaders in the nest. Henderson and his postdoctoral researcher Jian Chen found this unusual chemical in termite nests collected from colonies infesting houses and trees in New Orleans and Lake Charles, La. But the source of the naphthalene remains a mystery. Although Henderson admits that it may be possible for some animals to make naphthalene, he points out that there is no direct evidence of naphthalene being made by any animal or microorganism. Since termites use soil, masticated wood, and excrement to make their nests, one possible source is in the processed food of the termites or the soil, Henderson speculates. Another possible origin, he says, is that microbes are making the naphthalene by acting on material in the termite nest, the gut, or on the food.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of more than 155,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Do Termites Use "Mothballs" To Ward Off Predators?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980506082015.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (1998, May 6). Do Termites Use "Mothballs" To Ward Off Predators?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980506082015.htm
American Chemical Society. "Do Termites Use "Mothballs" To Ward Off Predators?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/05/980506082015.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins