US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in J. Chem Ecol (2010) 36: 122-128. DOI: 10.1007/s10886-009-9734-1


Trail pheromone disruption of invasive ants is a novel tactic that builds on the development of pheromonebased pest management in other insects. Argentine ant trail pheromone, (Z)-9-hexadecenal, was formulated as a microencapsulated sprayable particle and applied against Argentine ant populations in 400 m2 field plots in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A widely dispersed point source strategy for trail pheromone disruption was used. Traffic rates of ants in bioassays of treated filter paper, protected from rainfall and sunlight, indicated the presence of behaviorally significant quantities of pheromone being released from the formulation for up to 59 days. The proportion of plots, under trade wind conditions (2–3 m s−1), with visible trails was reduced for up to 14 days following treatment, and the number of foraging ants at randomly placed tuna-bait cards was similarly reduced. The success of these trail pheromone disruption trials in a natural ecosystem highlights the potential of this method for control of invasive ant species in this and other environments.