LSU AgCenter entomologist studies termite communication patterns

Johnny Morgan  |  8/2/2018 8:44:28 PM

(08/02/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — Qian “Karen” Sun, urban entomologist with the LSU AgCenter, is busy setting up her research lab to study the communication behaviors of Formosan subterranean termites.

Her research will be focusing on how termites use chemicals for social communication.

“We will be looking at the different ways that pheromones are used by the insects to find food and organize their social behavior,” Sun said. “Termites produce a number of chemicals they use to communicate with each other.”

The long-term goals of her research are to study the social behavior of termites and to control the pests.

“I came here because of my interest in termites, and they are a problem here,” she said.

There is the possibility that the work she is doing could result in a viable pesticide.

Sun began her new position in March after completing her post-doctoral work at Rockefeller University in New York City.

Sun earned her doctorate at the University of Kentucky and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the China Agricultural University.

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Qian “Karen” Sun. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

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