Technical Note: The Susceptibility of Chemically Treated Southern Hardwoods to Subterranean Termite Attack

T. Eric McConnell, Nathan S. Little, Sheldon Q. Shi, Tor P. Schultz


Ongoing research into chemically treating southern hardwoods for producing structural composite lumber suggests that some improvements may be imparted by modifying the wood. How chemical treatment(s) affect modified wood durability, particularly resistance to Reticulitermes flavipes, was the objective of this study. Water-saturated samples of yellow-poplar, sweetgum, and red oak were heated at 150°C for 30 min in two solutions: water and 1.0% NaOH; controls were also included. Samples were subjected to the AWPA E1-09 no-choice termite test in which mass loss from R. flavipes was determined. The species and treatments independently and significantly affected the mass loss. Yellow-poplar, which had the lowest specific gravity, averaged significantly greater mass loss than sweetgum and red oak for all three exposures. All species treated in water or NaOH showed a higher degree of termite degradation as compared with the controls.

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