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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research » Research » Research Project #437293

Research Project: Development of pheromone enhanced/ active detection /surveillance systems for imported fire ants

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Project Number: 6036-32000-051-010-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Aug 30, 2020

Develop a fire ant alarm pheromone controlled release system that will be attractive to fire ant workers for up to two weeks and designed specifically for enhancement of current fire ant detection methods. Purpose: Develop an attractant system for fire ants using the readily available fire ant alarm pheromone. Such a system would extend the utility of both the Remote Insect Detection system (RIDs) and ant specific sticky trap systems. Pheromone enhanced sticky traps could offer an inexpensive monitoring method for fire ants in nurseries, semi-trailers, cargo containers, etc. nationally and internationally.

The pheromone release system will be designed to release pheromone in a downward direction. This is a special consideration for the ground restricted fire ant workers. This will be an iterative process with bioassays directing modifications to the apparatus. Release rates of the volatile pyrazine alarm pheromone from prototypes will be measured and optimized for longevity (2-week target) and effectiveness – always guided by bioassays. Controlled release fibers and other materials will be evaluated for their effectiveness in slowing the release of the volatile pyrazine (monitored analytically and via bioassay). 3-D printing will be used to make all components needed to form the pheromone release module. The form for the RIDs is envisioned as a donut shape. The form for the sticky traps is envisioned to be a box shape, e.g., 1cm3, that stands above the sticky trap on 1-2 mm legs. Bioassays will guide the form of the apparatus.