Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2014
Publication Date: 9/1/2014
Citation: Valles, S.M., Oi, D.H. 2014. Sucessful transmission of Solenopsis invicta Virus 3 to field colonies of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist. 97:3. Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It is estimated to cause $6 billion in annual economic losses to livestock and agricultural production and poses a serious threat to human health. Biological control is widely considered the most sustainable method of controlling the fire ant over its entire range. The virus, Solenopsis invicta virus 3, discovered by scientists at CMAVE, has been shown to be a promising potential biocontrol agent for these ants in areas where the virus is not present in fire ant populations (e.g., California). In order to release the virus in California to control fire ants, successful methods of transmission must be developed. USDA-ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE, Gainesville, FL) have completed the first studies to successfully release SINV-3 into field populations of fire ants. This method will permit release of the virus into Californian fire ant populations.
Technical Abstract: Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) is a positive sense, single stranded virus that exhibits host specificity toward saevissima complex fire ants. The virus is being considered for release as a biological control agent in areas in which the virus is absent. This study demonstrates that field transmission is possible.