Maximizing Specificity of Red Imported Fire Ant Baits with Species-Specific Semiochemicals
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
ISCA Technologies, Inc.
P. O. Box 5266, Riverside, CA, 92521
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractA major pest in domestic, public, and agricultural environments Solenopsis invicta, the Red imported fire ant (RIFA), is currently being controlled with food-based baits that also affect non-target organisms, many of which are beneficial. We propose the use blends of semiochemicals modifiers of RIFA behaviors to increase bait specificity. RIFA workers preferentially picked up, transported and retained (in the nest chamber) inert materials laced with our semiochemical formulations. Argentine and closely related California-native fire ants (non-target organisms) ignored them, indicating that the development of highly specific RIFA baits may be a feasible task. Development of RIFA-specific baits will result in: 1) Monitoring devices specific to RIFA; more certainty of RIFA identification and detection. 2) Enhanced pick-up and optimal bait placement by RIFA workers, resulting in lower lethal doses of pesticides. Possible deterrent for non-target organisms. 3) Unaffected non-target beneficial insects; biocontrol agents will not be disrupted; fire ant competitors and natural enemies will be less affected. 4) Potential use in fragile/natural ecosystems (high specifically, low pesticide doses). 5) Use with novel control agents including volatile chemicals and bio-control agents, for instance entomopathogenic fungi such as Beauveria bassiana, effective for controlling fire ants. 6) Storage of baits close to developing brood and queen, so targeting the source of potential future infestations.
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