“Attract-and-kill” approach could help tackle Argentine ants
According to Choe, from a practical standpoint, future development of the proper formulation of (Z)-9-hexadecenal would help improve its efficacy and usability.
“The physicochemical characteristics of the pheromone formulation are important factors in improving the persistence of its effect,” he said. “Proper packaging also would be necessary because the pheromone’s stability could be compromised if the pheromone is mixed with the insecticide formulation and held in long-term storage. Some of these questions could be addressed with assistance from industry collaborators.”
The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent on the pheromone-assisted technique developed by the researchers.
Choe was accompanied in the research by UCR undergraduate students Kasumi Tsai and Carlos M. Lopez; and laboratory staff research associate Kathleen Campbell.
The study used one milligram of synthetic (Z)-9-hexadecenal per 500 milliliters of spray preparation (0.002 milligrams per milliliter). Given that the typical amount of spray preparation applied in an average size house is about 1.9-3.8 liters (0.5-1 gallons), the total amount of pheromone required for treating a house would be less than 10 milligrams. Based on the current price of the synthetic pheromone (less than $40 for one gram), 10 milligrams of synthetic (Z)-9-hexadecenal would cost approximately $0.40. If the pheromone-assisted techniques are effective in reducing the amount of insecticide for achieving a satisfactory level of control, homeowners or commercial pest management companies could reduce both the amount of active ingredient applied in the environment and the insecticide cost.