Virus may combat fire ants, but caution is needed | 9/12/2018 | Staff
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Native to South America, imported red fire ants were introduced accidentally into the United States in the early 20th century. These ants subsequently invaded other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, and more recently, Japan and South Korea.

A survey in Japan and Korea has revealed that fire ants are mostly confined to areas in or near container yards or warehouses. However, a Kyoto University study published in Scientific Reports suggests that results of this survey may need to be interpreted cautiously, as conventional food lures may result in underestimating actual ant numbers.

Fire - Ants - Foods - Chips - Dog

Fire ants are known to love oily foods, and hence potato chips or hot dog slices are often used in surveys in the United States, Australia, and Taiwan. The Kyoto team discovered that ants infected with a particular virus forage much less and prefer carbohydrates such as diluted honey over oily and protein-rich foods like tuna and peanut butter.

"This finding might lead to the impression that the pathogen can help us combat invasive ants, but it hinges on our understanding of the role of that virus in the ant's biology," says corresponding author Chin-Cheng Scotty Yang of Kyoto University.

Yang - Lack - Fire - Ants - Lure

Yang elaborates that the lack of fire ants at a lure station doesn't mean that...
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