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 28, 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 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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