Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel 'attract-and-kill' approach could help tackle Argentine ants

07.01.2014
UC Riverside entomologists devise a technique that involves mixing a synthetic pheromone in insecticide sprays

After being inadvertently introduced in the United States from South America, Argentine ants have successfully invaded urban, agricultural, and natural settings nationwide.


This photo shows Argentine ants.

Credit: D-H Choe Lab, UC Riverside.

In urban California, the Argentine ant is among the primary pest ants. For example, this particular species of ants makes up 85 percent of ants sampled by commercial pest control companies in just the Greater San Diego Area.

Entomologists at the University of California, Riverside have now developed a "pheromone-assisted technique" as an economically viable approach to maximize the efficacy of conventional sprays targeting the invasive Argentine ant.

They supplemented insecticide sprays with (Z)-9-hexadecenal, a pheromone compound attractive to ants, and were able to divert Argentine ants from their trails and nest entrances. Lured by the pheromone, the ants were eventually exposed to the insecticide residue, and killed.

Study results appeared Dec. 23, 2013, in the online fast track edition of the Journal of Economic Entomology.

"Our experiments with fipronil and bifenthrin sprays indicate that the overall kill of these insecticides on Argentine ant colonies is substantially improved — by 57 to 142 percent — by incorporating (Z)-9-hexadecenal in the sprays," said Dong-Hwan Choe, an assistant professor of entomology and the research project leader, whose lab focuses on urban entomology, insect behavior and chemical ecology.

According to Choe's research team, the current "attract-and-kill" approach, once it is successfully implemented in practical pest management programs, could potentially provide maximum control efficacy with reduced amount of insecticides applied in the environment.

"Given the amount of insecticides applied today to urban settings for Argentine ant control and the impact of these insecticides on urban waterways, it is critical to develop alternative integrated pest management strategies in order to decrease the overall amounts of insecticides applied and found in urban waterways, while still providing effective control of the target ant species," Choe said.

He explained that other studies have explored the possibility of using the synthetic pheromone (Z)-9-hexadecenal for Argentine management program. These studies, however, only explored the use of the pheromone to disrupt the foraging of Argentine ants.

"What makes our study unique is that we combine the insecticide sprays and low-dose pheromone to attract ants," Choe said. "Our ultimate goal is to minimize the impact of pest damages on urban life with, at the same time, no — or minimal — negative impact on the environment, non-target organisms, and human health."

According to Choe, from a practical standpoint, future development of the proper formulation of (Z)-9-hexadecenal would help improve its efficacy and usability.

"The physicochemical characteristics of the pheromone formulation are important factors in improving the persistence of its effect," he said. "Proper packaging also would be necessary because the pheromone's stability could be compromised if the pheromone is mixed with the insecticide formulation and held in long-term storage. Some of these questions could be addressed with assistance from industry collaborators."

The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent on the pheromone-assisted technique developed by the researchers.

Choe was accompanied in the research by UCR undergraduate students Kasumi Tsai and Carlos M. Lopez; and laboratory staff research associate Kathleen Campbell.

Study details:

The study used one milligram of synthetic (Z)-9-hexadecenal per 500 milliliters of spray preparation (0.002 milligrams per milliliter). Given that the typical amount of spray preparation applied in an average size house is about 1.9-3.8 liters (0.5-1 gallons), the total amount of pheromone required for treating a house would be less than 10 milligrams. Based on the current price of the synthetic pheromone (less than $40 for one gram), 10 milligrams of synthetic (Z)-9-hexadecenal would cost approximately $0.40. If the pheromone-assisted techniques are effective in reducing the amount of insecticide for achieving a satisfactory level of control, homeowners or commercial pest management companies could reduce both the amount of active ingredient applied in the environment and the insecticide cost.

The University of California, Riverside (http://www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

nachricht How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Multiferroic Materials from Building Blocks

29.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Silicon Fluorescent Material Developed Enabling Observations under a Bright “Biological Optical Window”

29.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

X-shape Bio-inspired Structures

29.09.2016 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>