Location: Biological Control of Pests ResearchTitle: Olfactory and behavioral responses to acetate esters in red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta
Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2020
Publication Date: 11/16/2020
Citation: Du, Y., Zhou, A., Chen, J. 2020. Olfactory and behavioral responses to acetate esters in red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pest Management Science. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6152.
Interpretive Summary: Red imported fire ants are a significant invasive pest. In the United State alone, fire ants cause about $7 billion annual economic loss. Synthetic insecticides are commonly used in controlling fire ants. Due to the public concern on the negative impact of synthetic insecticides, safe alternative control products are needed. Repellants can be used to exclude fire ants from some sensitive areas, such as hospital, school and electrical equipment; and attractants can be used to enhance the acceptance and selectivity of fire ant baits. In this study, the effect of a series of acetate esters on fire ants was investigated. We found two potential fire ant attractants, pentyl acetate and tran-2-hexenyl acetate, and two potential repellents, hexyl acetate and cis 3-hexenyl acetate, which may provide a foundation for developing new products or improve existing products for fire ant management.
Technical Abstract: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is one of the most successful invasive ants in the world. Previous studies indicated that benzyl acetate and prenyl acetate elicited significant electroantennography (EAG) response in S. invicta and exhibited as attractants at certain concentrations. In this study, we examined the EAG and behavioral responses to twenty-six new acetate esters in all castes of S. invicta. Our results demonstrated a large diversity of EAG tuning and behavioral responses to acetate esters in S. invicta. For linear alkyl acetate esters, EAG response was clearly affected by the carbon chain length of the alkyl group. Linear alkyl acetates with 5-7 carbon chain length of the alkyl group elicited significant EAG response in S. invicta, whereas those with shorter (C1 to C4) or longer (C8 to C12) carbon chain lengths did not. Different substations also exhibited large variety of EAG and behavioral responses in S. invicta. Our work explored the olfactory and behavioral response of S. invicta to structurally different acetate esters, and identified two potential fire ant attractants, pentyl acetate and tran-2-hexenyl acetate, and two potential repellents, hexyl acetate and cis-3-hexenyl acetate. These compounds may be useful in developing new products for fire ant management.