Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pesky ants found in Hawaii demonstrate invasive characteristics

02.11.2011
A common pest in the mainland United States known for its tropical smell now has a tropical habitat to go along with it.

Odorous house ants - so called because they tend to invade houses and smell like coconut when smashed - have found their way to Hawaii. And, according to Purdue University entomologist Grzegorz Buczkowski, it doesn't seem as though they have plans to end their vacations.

"Odorous house ants in Hawaii are not like they are here in natural areas where they live in small colonies. They are creating megacolonies like they do in urban areas," said Buczkowski, whose findings were published in the journal Myrmecological News. "We went there to eliminate the ants, but we found it's too late to treat for them."

In the continental United States, odorous house ants are especially troublesome because they are difficult to remove, Buczkowski said. A nest might be eliminated at one house, but other nests could be in nearby yards, allowing the ants to come back.

"It's one of the worst, if not the worst, pest species in homes," Buczkowski said.

Buczkowski said it's too soon to know what the effect of odorous house ants will be on Hawaii's native plant and animal species, but he wants to monitor the ecosystem around their nests.

Of concern is how the ants might react to Hawaii's climate. On the mainland, odorous house ants go dormant in winter, but with Hawaii's favorable year-round temperatures, the ants could continue to eat and expand much faster than in their native range.

In natural settings, odorous house ants live about 50 to a colony with one queen, often taking up residence in acorns or other small spaces. But Buczkowski's previous research has shown that when odorous house ants move into urban areas, colony sizes explode. On the Purdue campus, for example, Buczkowski has found a colony with 5 million workers and about 25,000 queens.

In Maui, the ants are taking up residence on the western slopes of the Haleakala volcano among some small farms, somewhat like the natural settings where the ants are found on the mainland. But despite a more natural setting in Maui, they're forming large colonies. Buczkowski said he estimated the Maui invasion is a single supercolony with more than 300 nests and multiple queens per nest covering more than 45 acres.

It's likely the ants stowed away on a ship, but Buczkowski said he's still stunned they made such a long journey from their native area.

"They aren't supposed to be in Hawaii," Buczkowski said. "To go from the mainland to Hawaii, more than 2,500 miles over the sea, is amazing."

The ants are also thriving among several inhospitable ant species, such as invasive Argentine and big-headed ants, which are aggressive toward other ant species.

"They didn't just invade a place that was free of ants and gain a foothold. They are in the middle of other ants and thriving," Buczkowski said. "If odorous house ants can get established there, they can get established anywhere. They could be invasive anywhere in the world."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture and DuPont funded Buczkowski's research.

Writer: Brian Wallheimer, 765-496-2050, bwallhei@purdue.edu

Source: Grzegorz Buczkowski, 765-494-6314, gbuczkow@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

Further reports about: Odorous house ants Pesky ants agriculture tropical habitat urban areas

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>