Olfactory and behavioral responses to acetate esters in red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.
Background: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is one of the most successful invasive ants in the world. Previous studies indicated that benzyl acetate and prenyl acetate elicited significant electroantennography (EAG) response in S. invicta and exhibited as attractants at certain concentrations. In addition, the easy commercial availability, low cost, and low mammalian toxicity make acetate esters ideal candidates to screen for potential use in S. invicta control. Results: We examined the EAG and behavioral responses to 26 acetate esters in all castes of S. invicta. Our results demonstrated a large diversity of EAG tuning and behavioral responses to acetate esters in S. invicta. For linear alkyl acetate esters, EAG response was clearly affected by the carbon chain length of the alkyl group. Linear alkyl acetates with five to seven carbon chain length of the alkyl group elicited significant EAG response in S. invicta, whereas those with shorter (C1 to C4) or longer (C8 to C12) carbon chain lengths did not. Different substitutions also exhibited large variety of EAG and behavioral responses in S. invicta. Conclusion: Our works explored the olfactory and behavioral response of S. invicta to structurally different acetate esters, and identified two potential fire ant attractants, pentyl acetate and tran-2-hexenyl acetate, and two potential repellents, hexyl acetate and cis-3-hexenyl acetate. These compounds may be useful in developing new products for fire ant management. Published 2020. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.