Posted by Brian Wallheimer-Purdue
February 28th, 2018
Poison bait is meant to smell and taste like foods that pest insects like invasive ants like to eat. But giving them the real thing instead of a knockoff might be a better option, researchers report.
When researchers coated termites with poison and set them free near colonies of invasive ants in South Africa, nearly every ant died within three weeks—using far less insecticide than traditional control methods.
“All ants eat protein to grow, and they usually get it by preying on insects,” says Grzegorz Buczkowski, a research associate professor of entomology at Purdue University. “We are feeding them what they want and getting better results.”
There are invasive ant species on nearly every continent, often brought from their native countries to others in the holds of ships. The Argentine ant, for example, came from Argentina to the United States more than a century ago in soil used as ballast on ships. When the ships arrived in Louisiana, they dumped the soil to load up on cargo, and the ants started to spread, reaching much of the southern portion of the country.
Argentine ants outcompete many other species, disrupting ecological interactions and also consume secretions from crop pests, such as aphids. In return, they protect those pests from natural predators, allowing their populations to grow.“Argentine ants are highly aggressive and competitive. It’s why they can outcompete native ants. But that works against them” It’s the Argentine ants’ ability to dominate other species that makes the new control method so effective.“Argentine ants are highly aggressive and competitive. It’s why they can outcompete native ants,” Buczkowski says. “But that works against them. When you put out termites, Argentine ants are the first to find them. They take these termites back to the nest and poison the whole colony.”
In field tests in South Africa, Buczkowski created six 100-square-meter plots and released termites coated in fipronil, a broad-spectrum insecticide. In four plots, the insecticide eradicated 100 percent of ants within 21 days. In the other two, the insecticide killed nearly 98 percent of the ants.
Fipronil is often used in other forms, but those require far more of the poison to control the same area. It would take 2,644 times more liquid spray, and 16,158 times more granules to cover 100 square meters. Those forms must be spread on the ground, and can also kill insects not meant to consume the poisons.
The termites have another advantage over other forms of poisons. Granules, gels, and sprays only affect the worker ants that come into contact with or consume them.
Hydrogel bait lures ants to a killing party
But the worker ants can’t digest termites themselves. Instead, they use a process called trophallaxis. They take the termites back to their nests and feed them to larvae, which pre-digest the insect and feed it back to the workers. The predigested termites poison the larvae, the workers, and the queens who receive the food from workers.
“With some baits you kill off the workers, but you still have queens and broods, and a few weeks later you have a new generation,” Buczkowski says. “With this, you’re stopping the colony from reproducing.”
While the termites die within an hour of researchers painting them with fipronil, Buczkowski isn’t recommending setting termites loose near homes or other buildings to control ant populations. Instead, he sees the method as an effective way to control invasive ant populations in large natural areas that contain colonies with millions of ants.
Future research will include testing other poisons, as well as different bait insects and other species of invasive ants. Since ants tend to want fresh prey, researchers are also experimenting with freeze-dried termites that look fresh but could be pre-treated and taken to field areas to kill ants.
The researchers report their findings in the Journal of Applied Entomology.
Source: Purdue University
Keeping dirty laundry in the bedroom allows bed bugs to thrive because they are attracted to soiled clothing. A study by the University of Sheffield has shown that the insects are drawn to dirty laundry, which could be their method of “hitchhiking” between countries.
The parasites are a headache for hotel owners because infestations are difficult to spot until the bugs start biting. Once a room is infested with bed bugs, they can be very difficult to get rid of and can result in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture, which can be really costly.
The study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them or to another hotel. In the study experiments were carried out in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms, in which four tote bags were placed in the presence of bed bugs. In the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing dirty laundry compared with those with the clean clothes. The findings suggest that the bugs are drawn to residual body odour in dirty laundry, so worn clothes left in an open suitcase, or on the floor of an infested room, may attract them. It is the first time human odour has been considered as a potential mechanism facilitating long-distance dispersal in bed bugs. Before feeding, bed bugs are a flattened oval shape, light brown and around 5mm long, but after a blood meal, they swell up to become rounder and darker. They can survive for six months without feeding and, although they are not dangerous, they can cause discomfort and stress to those who are bitten by them.
Halifax North Memorial Public Library has closed twice in the last week after staff discovered bed bugs on a piece of library furniture and on CDs and DVDs that had been returned. The Gottingen Street library was closed for spraying last week and again on Thursday morning. Terry Gallagher, facilities director at Halifax Public Libraries said “This is a very rare occurrence for the library but any public space is vulnerable to these types of pests. We’ve identified that this is not a facility issue, these are things coming to us.”
A Maine man accidentally torched his parents’ home over the weekend while trying to exterminate ants. Investigators with the state fire marshal’s office said this week that 21-year-old Devon Doucette was trying to incinerate the ants with wooden matches when he inadvertently ignited combustible material that caused flames to rapidly envelope the Old Orchard Beach home. While Doucette escaped with his life and his parents weren’t home at the time of the blaze, three family pets weren’t as lucky. Two cats and a dog were killed in the fire.
Health Canada says it will be conducting random testing of medical cannabis goods made by licensed producers.
The move follows voluntary recalls by two companies after their products were found to contain low levels of prohibited pest control substances.
Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, licensed producers are permitted to use only the 13 compounds that are currently approved for use on cannabis under the Pest Control Products Act. Health Canada said that the random testing is designed to assure Canadians that they are receiving safe, quality-controlled cannabis goods.
A developer of proprietary technologies for managing animal pest populations through fertility control, has announced the launch of ContraPest to be marketed for use initially in controlling rat infestations. Senes Tech’s first fertility control product will target the reproductive capabilities of both sexes, inducing egg loss in female rodents and impairing sperm development in males. Using proprietary bait stations, ContraPest is dispensed in a highly palatable liquid formulation that promotes sustained consumption by rodent communities. ContraPest is designed, formulated, and dispensed to be safe for handlers and non-target species such as wildlife, livestock and pets. The Company believes its non-lethal approach targeting reproduction is more humane, less harmful to the environment, and more effective in providing a sustainable solution to pest infestations than traditional lethal pest management methods.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday that pet rats are the source of an outbreak of Seoul virus infections in Illinois and Wisconsin. The virus has been confirmed in eight patients in an ongoing investigation. The recent cases are “the first human cases we’ve seen in the United States associated with pet rats,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a veterinarian and deputy division director for CDC’s division of high consequent pathogens and pathology. Several previous outbreaks reported in the US occurred in wild rats.
There was an outbreak reported in Europe previously associated with pet rats, so it’s not the first time this has been associated with pets worldwide. Read more.
A controversial pesticide banned in Canada has been discovered in products sold by a federally licensed medical marijuana producer, The Globe and Mail has learned, but neither the company nor Health Canada have informed the public.
Myclobutanil, a chemical that is also prohibited for use on legal cannabis in Colorado, Washington and Oregon because of health concerns, was found in product recently recalled by Mettrum Ltd., a Toronto-based medical marijuana company.
The pesticide is not approved for use on plants that are combusted, such as tobacco or cannabis, and is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated. Lawmakers in the three U.S. states moved quickly to ban myclobutanil, in some cases enacting emergency legislation when they discovered growers using it.
A new report demonstrates that bed bugs (notably the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius) can induce a potentially dangerous (and possibly even deadly) systemic reaction in individuals repeatedly exposed to bed bugs.
Two bed bug researchers had been exposed to bed bug bites over time (either due to being bitten while working in active infestations or through voluntary exposure to maintain colonies). Both researchers after being bitten one day with relatively small bed bug numbers, developed a widespread rash with itching, indicative of a serious systemic reaction. Both were admitted to an emergency department for treatment and subsequently made a full recovery.
One of the authors, Stephen Doggett of NSW Health Pathology, noted that this research demonstrates how bed bugs can be a serious threat to the health of the community. “If people are constantly exposed to bed bug bites (especially in low income housing), then the effects can be extremely deleterious to the individual,” he said.
The recent appearance of numerous cicadas has many Canadians in the maritimes concerned but according to David McCorquodale, Dean of Science and Technology, Cape Breton University there is nothing to be concerned about. “In Nova Scotia there are no reasonable ground to be concerned about a mass emergence of cicadas this summer. The three species of cicadas in Nova Scotia all have an annual life cycle. Numbers of adults that emerge each year are similar. We will not be able to see any difference in populations of adults this year compared to other years.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved genetically modified mosquitoes as part of a trial to control the Zika outbreak in the Florida Keys. The agency announced the approval saying it would not have a significant impact on the environment. Meanwhile, aerial and ground spraying of pesticides continues. The British company Oxitec developed the mosquitoes, which are modified so their offspring die before reaching reproductive age. No mosquitoes will be released immediately. Rather, officials in the Keys will hold a nonbinding public vote on the plan in November. Trials of the modified mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands suggest they reduced local populations of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by more than 90 per cent, Oxitec says. The mosquito species also spreads dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.
The City of Boston is experimenting with a chilling new way to kill rats: dry ice. “We’re seeing tremendous, tremendous success,” said William Christopher, commissioner of the city’s Inspectional Services Department.
For the past several weeks, workers from the agency have been using picnic coolers to pick up dry ice from a local company. They take the supercold substance to known trouble spots. The workers use steel scoops and wear gloves as they place the dry ice into the multiple exits of each burrow. Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. As it melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas, which fills the burrow, suffocating any rats inside. Christopher said it is a more humane way of killing the rodents — and significantly cheaper than using rat poison. He said his staff has used more than 400 pounds of dry ice over the past six weeks, and that altogether it cost just $225.
Using dry ice reduces the risk to other animals and children that poison can pose. Dry ice can burn if it comes into direct contact with skin, but workers monitor the substance after it’s placed in the burrows. “It’s simple science,” said Christopher. “It has not hurt anyone or any other wildlife or plant life. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, it’s been excellent.”
Christopher said officials from other cities have inquired about the dry ice method because they are interested in adopting it. He said Boston officials got the idea from local colleges that use carbon dioxide to euthanize lab rats. Read more:
Boston Globe newspaper
A new moth pest control program lures male moths and covers them in artificial pheromone perfume, which leads female ones to lose interest in breeding. Clothes moths damage both clothing items and furniture, particularly during mild and wet winters.
Sexually confusing moths has emerged as a way to force the pests out of the closet. In a new pest control treatment, experts lured male moths and covered them in a “perfume” of artificial pheromones, which sends the message that they are female. The female moths, in turn, lose interest in copulation once they get a whiff of the scent. This effectively renders the females unable to lay eggs, preventing another batch of hungry larvae that would feed on fabrics and other items in the closet.
This allows us to naturally and humanely curtail moth populations without the use of potentially harmful chemicals,” says David Cross, the study researcher from Rentokil pest control, of the method dubbed Moth Population Control Assist.
White-nose Syndrome (WNS), the highly contagious fungal disease that has killed millions of bats in North America, was confirmed in Washington state yesterday by wildlife officials.
The discovery of the infected little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)— found by hikers on a trail about 30 miles east of Seattle — marks the first time the disease has been documented in the western United States. Finding the disease almost 1,300 miles from the previous westernmost detection of the fungus in Nebraska is devastating news.
White-nose Syndrome has overwhelmed hibernating bats in the east, with the three most affected species, including the little brown bat, experiencing losses exceeding 98 percent in some states. The discovery of the disease in the west is a dire wake up call for all regions in North America, as biologists expect the disease to spread from this new epicenter.
A source cave for affected bats in Washington State, however, has not been found and may not be; bats in the west are dispersed in low numbers across the vast, mountainous landscape, many occupying crevices in rocks, and other hard to reach places. The finding suggests the fungus has been present in the state for at least a couple of years.
Potential treatments are being developed that can fight the disease at its source – tools that can control the growth of the fungus. Recent trials with bats in the lab and in the field with the fungal biocontrol Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP give us hope for a treatment that could reduce the impacts of this devastating disease. There is currently no silver bullet for improving bat survival from WNS. It is critical that we develop several tools for our toolbox in our fight against this disease. That’s why we are also funding research on other possible treatments that we need to get out of the lab and into field tests as soon as possible.
Bat Conservation International
February 24, 2016 ,
SFU communication ecologist Gerhard Gries says his new technology for detecting and controlling bed bugs is closer to commercialization now that Scotts Canada has become the industrial sponsor of his research chair. Recently Gries, research associate Regine Gries, and SFU chemist Rob Britton earned worldwide acclaim for developing a pheromone, or chemical lure, for bed bugs, which have become a global public health concern.
Scotts Canada, a division of U.S.-based ScottsMiracle-Gro Company, has taken over the sponsorship from local firm Contech Enterprises, which went bankrupt last year. Scotts Canada expects to commercialize bed-bug detection and control products based on this pheromone technology. Scotts is in the process of developing the bed bug technology for various markets, such as the consumer market and the structural pest control industry market.
“We are now working with a partner that has the resources—both personnel and financial—to really develop our pest control technologies that show great promise,” says Gries, a renowned researcher in insect and animal communication.
Yes. Rats can swim up your toilet
VIDEO: WATCH OUT! A rat’s super swimming ability and flexibility enable it to make its way easily from the city streets to your toilet.
See how they do it.
Rats’ superpowers are near-mythical: They can swim for three days. They can fit through holes the size of a quarter. They can collapse their ribcages. . Norway rats don’t exist in the wild. They’ve been in contact with humans for so long that they not only live with us, they depend on us almost entirely for food.
CENTER LINE, Mich. – A man tried to kill a spider at a gas station using a lighter causing a dangerous fire. Using a lighter to kill the bug, he started a blaze that quickly engulfed the gas pump. He somehow escaped serious injury and the gas station’s damage was contained to one pump, which was destroyed. The incident was recorded at a Center Line gas station. Employee Susan Adams kept calm and hit the gas automatic stop button and quickly called the Center Line fire department. The man grabbed a nearby extinguisher and put out the flames before firefighters arrived. Later he admitted what he did, saying he spotted a spider on his gas tank and because he’s deathly afraid of the critters he pulled out his lighter and decided to burn it. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what happened next. We are told his car was barely damaged from the flames.
Get ready for a fly invasion!
Do you have flies hibernating in your home in late summer/fall? Your new house pests may be attic flies or cluster flies. Adult cluster flies gather in clusters in warm buildings to overwinter. They are considered a household nuisance. The name is derived from tight “clusters” made by hibernating individuals in wall voids or attics, throughout Canada, most of the United States and Europe. On the first warm days of spring you may notice cluster flies gather outdoors, buzzing on lawns. They may also congregate in huge numbers on sunny walls in the fall.
The adult cluster fly looks like a very large house fly. The difference is that at rest, the fly overlaps its wing tips over the abdomen, like a pair of scissors, while the house fly does not. The cluster fly is dark gray to almost black with a checkered grayish abdomen. There are numerous short crinkly golden hairs on the sides of the thorax. In old specimens, these can be rubbed off. The fly is a sluggish flyer, buzzing loudly while flying aimlessly in concentric circles in buildings. Although this pest is less hazardous than other infestations, you don’t want cluster flies in your home or building.