Thursday, September 21, 2006

Maybe they just need a better anty-perspirant!

The L.A. Times is reporting that scientists may have found an interesting way to combat the massive supercolonies of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) that plague California: they make them smell bad. A biologist and a chemist at the University of California Irvine worked together to synthesize the scent that the ants use to recognize each other as colony members. Then they altered the formula in a few different ways and used the chemical on test ants. The ants no longer recognized the scent of the treated ants, and in some cases reacted by decapitating them. If tests continue to be successful, the synthetic ant scent could eventually be incorporated into bait traps or anti-ant sprays. I wonder if they will need to develop a unique scent for each of the supercolonies known throughout the world?

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