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Research Project: Management of Fire Ants and Other Invasive Ants

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Title: Diet with sucrose ameliorates Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (Solinviviridae: Invictavirus) infection in Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) worker ants

Author
item Valles, Steven

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It causes economic losses that exceed 8 billion dollars annually in the United States and poses a threat to human health. Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) is a virus specific to fire ants that shows promise as a natural control agent for fire ants in the United States. The virus is known to interfere with diet preference because it enters the host and destroys midgut cells. However, the mechanism of action of the virus is not completely understood. A USDA-ARS scientist at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (Gainesville, FL) determined that SINV-3-infection could be ameliorated when the diet supplemented with sucrose. These results advance the understanding of SINV-3 impact on the fire ant and may aid the development of SINV-3 as a control agent for these ants.

Technical Abstract: Mortality and virus titer were monitored in Solenopsis invicta colony fragments to examine the impact of diet sucrose supplementation. Mortality on day 21 reached a mean of 111.8 ±22.0 worker ants in SINV-3-treated colonies without sugar supplementation, which was significantly (F = 10.0; df = 3,14; p < 0.0009) greater than the SINV-3-infected colonies with sugar supplementation (33.5 ±5.8), SINV-3-uninfected colonies without sugar supplementation (17.3 ±10.7), and SINV-3-uninfected colonies with sugar supplementation (6.7 ±2.5).