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.
"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 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.
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!
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy