Navigation Links
Pesky ants found in Hawaii demonstrate invasive characteristics
Date:11/1/2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A common pest in the mainland United States known for its tropical smell now has a tropical habitat to go along with it.

Odorous house ants - so called because they tend to invade houses and smell like coconut when smashed - have found their way to Hawaii. And, according to Purdue University entomologist Grzegorz Buczkowski, it doesn't seem as though they have plans to end their vacations.

"Odorous house ants in Hawaii are not like they are here in natural areas where they live in small colonies. They are creating megacolonies like they do in urban areas," said Buczkowski, whose findings were published in the journal Myrmecological News. "We went there to eliminate the ants, but we found it's too late to treat for them."

In the continental United States, odorous house ants are especially troublesome because they are difficult to remove, Buczkowski said. A nest might be eliminated at one house, but other nests could be in nearby yards, allowing the ants to come back.

"It's one of the worst, if not the worst, pest species in homes," Buczkowski said.

Buczkowski said it's too soon to know what the effect of odorous house ants will be on Hawaii's native plant and animal species, but he wants to monitor the ecosystem around their nests.

Of concern is how the ants might react to Hawaii's climate. On the mainland, odorous house ants go dormant in winter, but with Hawaii's favorable year-round temperatures, the ants could continue to eat and expand much faster than in their native range.

In natural settings, odorous house ants live about 50 to a colony with one queen, often taking up residence in acorns or other small spaces. But Buczkowski's previous research has shown that when odorous house ants move into urban areas, colony sizes explode. On the Purdue campus, for example, Buczkowski has found a colony with 5 million workers and about 25,000 queens.

In Maui, the ants are taking up residence on the western slopes of the Haleakala volcano among some small farms, somewhat like the natural settings where the ants are found on the mainland. But despite a more natural setting in Maui, they're forming large colonies. Buczkowski said he estimated the Maui invasion is a single supercolony with more than 300 nests and multiple queens per nest covering more than 45 acres.

It's likely the ants stowed away on a ship, but Buczkowski said he's still stunned they made such a long journey from their native area.

"They aren't supposed to be in Hawaii," Buczkowski said. "To go from the mainland to Hawaii, more than 2,500 miles over the sea, is amazing."

The ants are also thriving among several inhospitable ant species, such as invasive Argentine and big-headed ants, which are aggressive toward other ant species.

"They didn't just invade a place that was free of ants and gain a foothold. They are in the middle of other ants and thriving," Buczkowski said. "If odorous house ants can get established there, they can get established anywhere. They could be invasive anywhere in the world."


'/>"/>
Contact: Brian Wallheimer
bwallhei@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Pesky fruit flies learn from experienced females: Study
2. Pesky aphid thrives despite weak immune system
3. K-State researchers find gene-silencing nanoparticles may put end to pesky summer pest
4. A pesky bacterial slime reveals its survival secrets
5. A major prize in the chemical sciences announced by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
6. Entertainment Software Association Foundation awards grant to FAS for immune attack
7. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
8. Dunn Foundation gives Rice $3M for collaborative research grants
9. National Science Foundation grant expands UMCES oyster research
10. Earliest animal footprints ever found -- discovered in Nevada
11. Stabilizing force for good communication between neurons and muscle cells found
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Pesky ants found in Hawaii demonstrate invasive characteristics
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant ... company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment ... as director of public safety business development. ... law enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation ... his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , Australia , March 9, ... study data at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop ... Andreas Fouras , was invited to deliver the ... pulmonary medicine. This globally recognised event brings together leaders ... share the latest developments in lung imaging. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... Partners.     , Covalent’s Analytical Services unit provides high-quality data to clients, ... within 24 hours of receipt. There are no price premiums, and customers are ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... Having worked on the design of the innovative Triton™ lab bench ... design architects from around the country at the Lab Design Conference 2017 in Raleigh, ... Casey will be at the show, where they will highlight the unique elements of ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Frederick ... a range of emerging technology-based businesses, recently earned a $77,518 grant from the ... , Founded in 2004, FITCI is Frederick’s first incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... and clinical research community’s growing body of knowledge during its Eighth Annual ... Theatre and the adjacent Darling Atrium. During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: