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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362081

Research Project: Pre-and Postharvest Treatment of Tropical Commodities to Improve Quality and Increase Trade Through Quarantine Security

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: Ethyl formate fumigation for the disinfestation of red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta Buren

item LEE, BYUNG-HO - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item PARK, CHUYNG-GYOO - Gyeongsang National University
item PARK, MIN-GOO - Animal And Plant Quarantine Agency
item Riddick, Eric
item ROH, GWANG-HYUN - Oak Ridge Institute For Science And Education (ORISE)
item Chen, Jian
item Cha, Dong

Submitted to: Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2019
Publication Date: 6/28/2019
Citation: Lee, B., Park, C., Park, M., Riddick, E.W., Roh, G., Chen, J., Cha, D.H. 2019. Ethyl formate fumigation for the disinfestation of red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta Buren. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 22(3):838-840.

Interpretive Summary: Red imported fire ant (RIFA) is one of world’s most aggressive and destructive invasive pests with huge economic, environmental, and health impacts. Once established in a new area, it is extremely difficult and costly to eradicate RIFA, suggesting the importance of prevention and quarantine. To prevent RIFA establishment in a new area repeatedly exposed to RIFA invasion (e.g. South Korea), researchers at the USDA-ARS laboratories in HI and MS and at Gyeongsang National University and Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency in South Korea are developing disinfestation protocols using ethyl formate fumigation. As a first step, the authors show that ethyl formate was effective in killing 99.9% of workers and alates (winged forms) under the EF treatment level currently being used commercially in South Korea to disinfest imported agricultural products. Future research will be focused on developing disinfestation protocols for RIFA in commerce shipping containers.

Technical Abstract: Although multiple recent invasions of the red imported fire ant (RIFA), Solenopsis invicta Buren, to South Korea have been successfully intercepted, the potential establishment of RIFA in this country has been a great concern. The majority of RIFA detections have been concentrated around areas of imported shipping containers, suggesting disinfestation of common trade containers, in addition to inspection and disinfestation of imported agricultural commodities, is necessary for the prevention of RIFA introduction. So far, however, no regulations and protocols are in place for inspection, detection, and disinfestation of RIFA in common trade containers. As a first step, we investigated whether RIFA could be effectively controlled using liquid ethyl formate (EF), a safer and more economical alternative for methyl bromide. Liquid EF fumigation treatment was effective in controlling 99.9% of RIFA workers and female alates at 46.1 and 37.7 g h m-3 at 13°C and 23°C respectively, indicating that EF fumigation can be a useful disinfestation method to control RIFA.