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Supercolony countermeasure

Fight borg with borg.
  [vote for,

Argnetine ants are one of the worlds most invasive species. Part of their invasiveness has been the ability of colonies in certain parts of the world to spread as a "supercolony". With minimal genetic variation, ants from nests many miles apart regard each other as sisters, and do not fight. Rather, the workers are interchangable. Not competing among themselves, and finding no native opposition, argentine ant supercolonies are taking over areas of california and europe.

In Argentina, however, ants from nests a few hundred yards apart will fight bitterly. I propose that at the leading edge of the supercolonies, we establish multiple nests from genetically disparate colonies in argentina. Conditions will be good for these ants, and they will prosper. However, they will fight among themselves and with the supercolony, preventing it from spreading unchecked.

In addition, the chances are good that one or more of these new colonies will be host to a virus or some other ant pathogen to which the supercolony is susceptible. The lack of genetic diversity in the supercolony means that any such disease will spread like wildfire - another means of controlling its spread.

bungston, Nov 18 2003

Stopping Argentine ants with fire ants http://www-biology....article_051500.html
Choice of the devil or the deep blue sea, seems to me. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Argentine ants in europe. http://www.nature.c...20415/020415-1.html
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Australian superpoison? http://www.forest-b...ineants/control.asp
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       I found a few mentionson the web about some Australian superpoison (no kidding) that they had used to eradicate Argentine ants over large areas. See link. I could not find a good in depth discussion of what it was.
bungston, Nov 18 2003

       So to get rid of all the ants in my house, I should special order a whole other colony and turn them loose as well?
luecke, Nov 18 2003

       Home/pest control is really not the right area for this. It is more ecological engineering.
bungston, Nov 18 2003

       I thought it was fire ants we were having the problems with. Either way, if we have a problem with Argentine ants, I don't think you'll make many friends trying to bring in more nests.   

       I would suggest the less invasive measure of importing males only. That way, you will increase the genetic diversity without introducing extra pests. (Although I do foresee that it is likely that single diverse nests will quickly get overrun by the surrounding homogenous nests, so you will need to heavily blanket targeted areas to make sure they all end up diverse.)
DrCurry, Nov 18 2003

       [Curry] - I like the males only option. This would facilitate making genetically diverse colonies using queens from the supercolony but would unfortunatley be less likely to introduce some new disease.
bungston, Nov 18 2003


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