Electrophysiological and alarm responses of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine.
2-Ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine is an isomer of 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine, the alarm pheromone component of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. The pyrazine was synthesized and its alarm activity was investigated under laboratory conditions. It elicited significant electroantennogram (EAG) activities, and released characteristic alarm behaviors in fire ant workers. The EAG and alarm responses were both dose-dependent. Two doses of the pyrazine, 1 and 100 ng, were further subjected to bait discovery bioassays. Fire ant workers excited by the pyrazine were attracted to food baits, and their numbers increased over time. Ants displayed very similar response patterns to both low and high doses of the pyrazine. The pyrazine impregnated onto filter paper disc attracted significantly more fire ant workers than the hexane control for all observation time intervals at the low dose, and in the first 15 min period at the high dose. The pyrazine loaded onto food bait directly tended to attract more fire ant workers than the hexane control. These results support the potential use of 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine to enhance bait attractiveness for the control of S. invicta in invaded regions.