David Williams, Mentor
Dwayne McKnight is making observations on imported fire ant workers that have been exposed to natural oils in the small cups.
Dwayne McKnight's project examined how natural oils in the diet affect feeding behavior and survival of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). He is evaluating how effective these natural products are for possible use in baits to control fire ants.
The cups in the photo contain the ants and the natural oils that have been mixed in an attractive substance (sugar-water).
Evaluation of Natural Products Against the Fire Ant
A laboratory study was conducted to evaluate natural products for use in baits against the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. The following natural products were tested: myrrh, camphor oil, rosemary oil, oregano oil, geranium oil, basil oil, anise oil, clove oil, pine needle oil, and the control was soy bean oil. Myrrh at a 20% concentration and all other products at a 5% concentration killed between 70 and 100% within the first 4 days. Because of fast, high mortality in trial 1, a second test was conducted with lower concentrations.
Myrrh at a concentration of 10%, oils of camphor, rosemary and oregano each at a concentration of 1%, and all other products at a 5% concentration killed between 30 and 100% the first 4 days. Pine needle and basil oils caused the greatest kill exhibiting 99% kill by the sixth day. These products did not exhibit delayed mortality, which is desirable in an ant bait.