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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #254359

Title: Ingested boric acid effect on the venom chemistry of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

item Rojas, Maria - Guadalupe
item Morales Ramos, Juan
item Chen, Jian

Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2010
Publication Date: 4/2/2011
Citation: Rojas, M.G., Morales Ramos, J.A., Chen, J. 2011. Ingested boric acid effect on the venom chemistry of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 46(2):89-95.

Interpretive Summary: Imported fire ants have successfully invaded over 320 million acres in the United States spanning 13 states and Puerto Rico. Red (Solenopsis invicta Buren). It is known that boric acid is a good active ingredient to control fire ants when it is incorporated into a bait; although its mode of action is not fully understood. Using mass spectrometry (GC-MS) we determined that boric acid interferes with the production of the toxins in the venom. Application of this knowledge would be especially useful in implementing environmentally friendly control methods of this pest since the absence of this toxins, fire ants become susceptible to the attack of fungi and bacteria.

Technical Abstract: During a field evaluation of a boric acid bait against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, it was observed that workers of intoxicated colonies produced stings with less toxic effects compared to workers from healthy colonies. In this study, the effect of boric acid on the levels of piperidine alkaloids in ant venom was investigated. Exposure to boric acid for a period of 4 weeks resulted in significant changes in both concentrations and ratios of the piperidine alkaloids. The concentration of piperidine alkaloids was significantly lower in colonies treated with the boric acid bait. Boric acid suppresses the production of piperidine alkaloids in red imported fire ants.