Abstract

Current control measures for Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr), in urban settings typically include perimeter applications of insecticides around structures, resulting in potential problems with insecticide runoff and environmental contamination. Insecticidal baits can be an effective alternative to perimeter spray applications and are largely considered target-specific with minimal nontarget impact and environmental contamination. We report a “pheromone-assisted baiting technique” as an economically viable approach to maximize the efficacy of conventional baits targeting Argentine ants. Laboratory experiments with a commercially available gel bait indicated that foraging activity and final mortality of Argentine ants were significantly improved by incorporating (Z)-9-hexadecenal in the bait. The field study demonstrated that the pheromone-treated gel bait achieved a 74% reduction in Argentine ant activity by the end of 4 wk when it was compared with its own pretreatment value. This was a significant improvement over the untreated gel bait that provided a 42% reduction over the same period of time. The pheromone-assisted baiting technique has the potential in providing effective ant control with reduced amount of insecticides applied in the environment.

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