1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop or identify environmentally compatible chemical controls to provide immediate, effective management of the invasive Caribbean crazy ant (CCA), Paratrechina pubens, and conduct an initial search for biological organisms that could provide long-term, sustainable control of CCA.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
1) Identify/develop an ant bait formulation that CCA will distribute among multiple nest sites located beyond the bait application site. 2) Survey CCA populations for the presence of pathogens that can potentially be utilized as biological control agents for long term, sustainable suppression of CCA.
3. Progress Report:
This research directly supports and corresponds to in-house project Objective 4: Develop integrated pest management plans that utilize available control methods, perform comprehensive risk assessment, and that can be adapted to specific stakeholder needs, including local eradication; and Sub-Objective 4.2: Optimize baits for the control of invasive ants. It is hypothesized that IGR baits will be more effective against pest ants, like CCA, with large, interconnected colonies. Because IGRs do not affect adult worker ants, bait distribution among multiple colonies should be more efficient than with fast-acting baits. Commercial fire ant baits which contain insect growth regulating (IGR) active ingredients (pyriproxyfen or (S)-methoprene) were ineffective probably due to poor bait ingestion, however a laboratory bait was formulated with pyriproxyfen resulted in brood reductions of over 74% which was significantly greater than untreated colonies. In a field study, non-IGR liquid ant bait was distributed over 100 feet from bait station that contained large volume of bait. This demonstrated that access to palatable bait over extended time periods is crucial for bait distribution to extremely large populations of invasive ants. The gene survey of CCA for pathogens was completed and published.