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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Promising Biopesticide for Fire Ant Control
See also: US Patent Office Full Record

Southeast Area
  Gainesville, Florida

Patent Number: 7332176
Docket Number: 10604
Serial Number: 11239183
Date Patented: 02/19/2008

Technology Description:  ARS researchers in Florida have discovered a virus (fire ant virus) that infects red imported fire ants.  This is the first confirmed virus discovered from red imported fire ants.  Preliminary tests indicate the virus appears to cause slow death (2-3 months) of infected colonies.  The virus is transmissible in the laboratory, and is found in approximately 20 percent of fire ant field colonies.  The virus could potentially be cultivated and developed in the lab into a non-chemical biopesticide for controlling this tenacious pest.  This naturally sustainable virus could be developed into baits that could be used by the pest control industry, agricultural producers, agricultural harvesters, consumers and others for whom fire ants are a problem. Red imported fire ants can cause severe economic problems from crop loss, electrical and farm equipment damage from ants nesting in machinery, and soil erosion from the massive colonies this pest builds.  Fire ants are also very aggressive and pose severe threats to humans and livestock from stinging attacks.


This technology is in the early research stage.  ARS researchers are currently trying to understand the virus and its impact on fire ant populations.  The researchers are seeking a cooperative research partner to develop methods to grow the virus in vitro, package it, and apply it under field conditions.  It could provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pesticides. 


Reference:  Please refer to S.N. 11/239,183 (Docket #0106.04), “Solenopsis Invicta Viruses,” which was filed on September 29, 2005.  Foreign rights are not available.




Steven M. Valles
Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Gainesville, FL  32608
Phone: (352) 374-5834
   Fax: (352) 374-5818

Phat M. Dang
Subtropical Insects Research
Fort Pierce, FL  34945
Phone: (772) 462-5940
   Fax: (772) 462-5986

Charles A. Strong
(Same as first inventor)
Phone: (352) 374-5878
   Fax: (352) 374-5818

Roberto M. Pereira
(Same as first inventor)
Phone: (352) 374-5769
   Fax: (352) 374-5818

Wayne B. Hunter
Subtropical Insects Research
Fort Pierce, FL  34945
Phone: (772) 462-5898
    Fax: (772) 462-5986

David F. Williams
10012 N.W. 62nd Lane
Gainesville, FL  32653

Phone: (352) 392-1901 Ext. 119
   Fax: (352) 374-5903

David H. Oi
(Same as first inventor)
Phone: (352) 374-5987
   Fax: (352) 374-5818


Last Modified: 10/1/2015
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