Date of this Version
Florida Entomologist 97(3) Page 1251-1254
Controlling invasive species is a growing concern; however, pesticides can be detrimental for non-target organisms. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren; Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has aggressively invaded ~138 million ha in the USA and causes over $6 billion in damage and control efforts annually (Valles 2011). Myriad research studies have been conducted to discover safe biological control agents to manage these invasive pests (Valles et al. 2004; Milks et al. 2008; Oi et al. 2009; Yang et al. 2009; Wang et al. 2010; Callcott et al. 2011; Porter et al. 2011; Tufts et al. 2011). Viruses may be lethal due to modifications of cellular processes and induction of defense responses or may produce distinct survival outcomes depending on species (i.e. ascoviruses) (Stasiak et al. 2005). The Solenopsis invicta virus (SINV-1) is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus, which can only infect the genus Solenopsis at all stages of development, and is verticallytransmitted within a colony (Valles et al. 2004; Valles 2012).