A study has developed a cheap and environmental-friendly home remedy that would help homeowners and farmers control the invasive Argentine ant populations that have been pestering them. The remedy is based from seaweed that could be a bait for ants.
In the study published in Pest Management Science titled "Development of an alginate hydrogel to deliver aqueous bait for pest ant management," the researchers found the hydrogel baits reduced Argentine ant populations from 40 to 68 percent after four weeks. This hydrogel baits have a base of seaweed that looked like liquid gel pills with jello-like consistency.
After the second treatment, the Argentine ant population was observed to have 61 to 79 percent decrease until the experiment ended eight weeks after. "A 70 percent reduction is really successful, especially considering we are not spraying an insecticide but instead using a very targeted method that is better for the environment," one of the study's author Dong-Hwan Choe said.
In an article published by Science Daily, the hydrogels are not just simply for the erasure of invasive Argentine ants. It could also be used in agriculture like in citrus groves and grape vineyards.
In addition, the team wants to measure the effectiveness of hydrogels in controlling the invasive Argentine ant population. If it could really control the ants, these wasps could do their job in protecting citrus trees from Asian citrus psyllid.
Currently, the Argentine ant is seen as an invasive species with a worldwide distribution. It is a major nuisance in southern states like Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Tennesse, and North Carolina. It could be seen in California based on a 2007 survey that indicates 85 percent of all urban pest control services in California are focused on the Argentine ant.
Usually, people manage the Argentine ant by using insecticide sprays. The downside of insecticide sprays, however, is that it can harm non-target organisms that do beneficial things. In addition, the misuse of these sprays could also cause problems in the environment.