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- Research Report: Leveraging the Chemistry of Colony Organization for the Management of a Widespread and Expanding Urban Pest Ant
Leveraging the Chemistry of Colony Organization for the Management of a Widespread and Expanding Urban Pest Ant
The odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile, is the most common ant in the United States and has been recognized as an urban pest species for more nearly 100 years. In urban and introduced environments the ant shares many colony characteristics with the global invasive ant species the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, such as colonies that spread across multiple nesting sites, containing thousands of queens and potentially millions of workers. Recently, the invasive-like characteristics of T. sessile are beginning to draw attention, with the first report of an established population in a non-native range has come from Hawaii. A new management method being developed for Argentine ants involves utilizing species-specific chemical pheromones to disrupt and manipulate their foraging behavior. Combined with more traditional insecticidal control efforts, the use of pheromones in managing pest ants is a promising and more efficient integrated pest management strategy.
The aim of this research was to provide the foundation for development of pheromone based management strategies for T. sessile. To date, practically no information is available on the pheromones used by this species. We identified the glandular source of the trail and alarm pheromone to be the pygidial gland. However, experiments using pygidial gland extracts did not always induce trail-following behaviour. Collectively, our results advance our knowledge of the behavior and chemical ecology of this pest species.
Adrian A. Smith, Lawrence M. Hanks, Andrew V. Suarez (Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign