Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controlling Fire Ants Area-Wide

Date:
October 16, 2007
Source:
US Department of Agriculture
Summary:
Progress is being made in coordinated efforts to halt the spread of imported fire ants, according to scientists studying this invasive pest that now inhabits more than 320 million acres in several southern states and Puerto Rico. Fire ants cause millions of dollars in agricultural damage each year. Not only do they build large mounds that damage nearby plant roots and farm equipment, they also cause painful stings to animals and people.

Entomologist David Oi collects infected fire ants from a colony decimated by the fire ant pathogen Thelohania solenopsae.
Credit: Peggy Greb

Progress is being made in coordinated efforts to halt the spread of imported fire ants, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists studying this invasive pest that now inhabits more than 320 million acres in several southern states and Puerto Rico.

Fire ants cause millions of dollars in agricultural damage each year. Not only do they build large mounds that damage nearby plant roots and farm equipment, they also cause painful stings to animals and people.

ARS entomologists David Oi and Steven Valles in the agency's Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology at Gainesville, Fla., are studying two parasitic microsporidia to curb fire ant populations.

In collaboration with Juan Briano at the ARS South American Biological Control Laboratory in Hurlingham, Argentina, they are testing Thelohania solenopsae. Using new genetic detection methods, they found that worker ants transfer T. solenopsae spores to the queen. This reduces the queen's egg production, so colonies die out.

Another microsporidium, Vairimorpha invictae, has successfully destroyed ant colonies. According to Oi, studies have so far shown that V. invictae doesn't infect non-fire ants or other arthropods collected in Argentina, so it may be suitable for release in the United States.

To abate the progression of fire ants across the southern United States, an areawide project is in place. Participants include USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, state agencies and land-grant universities.

Thus far, the most successful tactic in the areawide project is the release of tiny phorid flies. These flies pursue their targets, intent on laying a single egg inside each fire ant's body. After two to three weeks, the fly maggot decapitates the ant and turns into a pupa inside the ant head. The fly that ultimately emerges repeats the process. Three phorid fly species have been established in the United States, with a fourth awaiting field release later this year.

Read more about this research in the September 2007 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Department of Agriculture. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Department of Agriculture. "Controlling Fire Ants Area-Wide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071014191236.htm>.
US Department of Agriculture. (2007, October 16). Controlling Fire Ants Area-Wide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071014191236.htm
US Department of Agriculture. "Controlling Fire Ants Area-Wide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071014191236.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins