Antitermitic Properties of Cellulose Pads Treated with Bark Extractives


  • Scott D. Steller
  • Peter Labosky


Termite control, cellulose pads, bark extractives, wood preservatives


A study was undertaken to evaluate the feasibility of using bark extractives as a preservative treatment for wood to inhibit subterranean termite activity. Bark samples were collected from eleven species: Pinus strobus, P. virginiana, Tsuga canadensis, Quercus alba, Q. velutina, Q. prinus, Sassafras albidum, Juglans nigra, Carya ovata, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Robinia pseudoacacia.

Cellulose paper pads (unbleached kraft) were treated with one of two bark extracts (A:H:W or 1% NaOH/Na2S) at 0.16, 0.67, and 0.83 g/ml treatment levels and evaluated for antitermitic properties.

Complete termite mortality was observed after 4 weeks for paper pads treated with A:H:W bark extracts from the species Q. prinus, P. strobus, C. ovata, and S. albidum at both the 0.67 and 0.83 g/ml treatment levels. In addition, no termite survival was observed for paper pads treated with the A:H:W bark extracts from the species Q. alba, L. tulipifera, and T. canadensis at the 0.83 g/ml treatment level. Termite survival was observed for paper pads treated with A:H:W extracts at the 0.16 g/ml treatment level and with alkali extracts at the 0.16, 0.67, and 0.83 g/ml treatment levels for all bark species examined.

No significant difference in termite mortality was observed between A:H:W bark extracts obtained from fresh or 1-year-old harvested bark. Feeding preference trials indicate that termites are attracted to A:H:W extracts obtained from C. ovata and J. nigra. Antitermitic trials with pentachlorophenol, copper naphthenate, and bark extracts at the 0.67 g/ml treatment level exhibited complete termite mortality; but the termites consumed more cellulose treated with bark extractives than with commercial preservatives.

These results indicate that A:H:W bark extracts from the species Q. prinus, S. albidum, P. strobus and C. ovata show promise as a wood preservative, but additional studies are needed to isolate and identify the antitermitic extracts.


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Research Contributions