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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309996

Research Project: Biting and Stinging Pests: Ecology and Biologically-base Control

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research

Title: Sublethal effect of imidacloprid on Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) feeding, digging, and foraging behavior

Author
item Wang, Lei - South China Agricultural University
item Zeng, Ling - South China Agricultural University
item Chen, Jian

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2015
Publication Date: 8/16/2015
Citation: Wang, L., Zeng, L., Chen, J. 2015. Sublethal effect of imidacloprid on Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) feeding, digging, and foraging behavior. Environmental Entomology. 44:1544-1552.

Interpretive Summary: Neonicotinoid insecticides have been linked to honeybee population decline. As social insects, ants may also be effected by those insecticides at sublethal levels. Red imported fire ant is one of the most well studied ant species and an ideal ant species for evaluating the effect of neonicotinoid insecticides on ants. In this study, we exposed red imported fire ants to imidacloprid, a common neonicotinoid insecticide, and investigated its effect on ant feeding, digging and foraging behavior. Imidacloprid at 0.01 µj ml-1 increased sugar water consumption and digging behavior of red imported fire ants; however, imidacloprid at = 0.25 µg ml-1 significantly suppressed their sugar water consumption, digging and foraging behavior. This study reveals that imidacloprid at sublethal concentrations may have a significant and complicated effect on red imported fire ants.

Technical Abstract: There is increasing evidence that exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides at sublethal levels impairs colonies of honeybee and other pollinators. Recently, it was found that sublethal contamination with neonicotinoids also affect growth and behavior of ants. In this study, we exposed red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, to sublethal dosages of dietary imidacloprid and investigated its effect on ant feeding, digging and foraging behavior. S. invicta consumed significantly more sugar water containing 0.01 µg/ml imidacloprid than pure sugar water. However, imidacloprid at = 0.25 µg/ml significantly suppressed sugar water consumption, digging and foraging behavior. These results indicate that imidacloprid at sublethal concentrations may have a significant and complicated effect on S. invicta.