Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The long-term effects of reduced competitive ability on foraging success of an invasive pest species.

Abstract

Ant species like Pheidole megacephala (F.), Solenopsis invicta (Buren), and the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), have repeatedly been reported to be strongly associated with honeydew-producing arthropods like aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs, effectively protecting them from biological control agents like parasitoids. Here we report the results of a successful trial using pheromone dispensers to suppress Argentine ant activity over large sections in a commercial vineyard over a period of two months and preventing ant access into and foraging within the vine canopy. We found Argentine ant activity to be significantly reduced in pheromonetreated plots for the duration of the trial period compared with control plots. Our results showed a significant reduction in the numbers of Argentine ant workers recruited to randomly placed food resources within treated plots compared with untreated plots. Furthermore, spatial distribution of Argentine ants alongside transects in untreated plots remained relatively continuous, while increasing sharply beyond the borders of treated plots. Lastly, we measured the body fat content of workers and found a significant reduction in fat among workers from treated plots compared with untreated plots, suggesting an adverse effects on nest fitness. Additionally, we provide an initial assessment of the feasibility of the presented approach. Our results showed that it is possible to control Argentine ant, preventing them access to and foraging within the vine canopy, thereby reducing Argentine ants' access to honeydew.