Gainesville, Fla. (UPI) Feb 24, 2011
Global invasions of fire ants can be traced back to the southern United States where the nuisance insect first gained a hold in the 1930s, researchers say.
Scientists at the University of Florida say the ant, native to South America, had been contained there and in the southeastern United States before turning up in faraway places in the last 20 years, including California, China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, a university release reported Thursday.
Their findings could prove helpful in finding new ways to control the invasive species, Solenopsis invicta. The United States spends more than $6 billion a year to control the ants and offset damage they cause, including medical expenses and $750 million in agricultural losses.
"Fire ants are very annoying pests, and they cause people to suffer," researcher Marina Ascunce said. "People who are allergic can die (from ant stings)."
The research team used genetic markers to trace the origins of ants in nine locations where recent invasions occurred and traced all but one of the invasions to the southern United States.
The scientists were surprised by the findings, Ascunce said.
"I thought that at least one of the populations in the newly invaded areas would have come from South America, but all of the genetic data suggest the most likely source in virtually every case was the southern United States," she said.
The study results show the problematic side of a robust global trade and travel network, the researchers say.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
University Park PA (SPX) Feb 23, 2011
Researchers need to use all available resources in an integrated approach to put agriculture on a path to solve the world's food problems while reducing pollution, according to a Penn State biologist. Changes in national and international regulations will be necessary to achieve this goal. "Using resources more efficiently is what it will take to put agriculture on a path to feed the expec ... read more
Earth's Core Rotating Faster Than Rest Of The Planet|
2012 Science Budget Endorsed By Earth And Space Scientists
GIS Development Announces Latin American Geospatial Forum
Europe to forge ahead on climate satellite
EU issues urgent call to 21 states on satellite network
Lockheed Martin-Built GPS Satellite Exceeds 10 Years On-Orbit
Russia To Launch Glonass Satellite Feb 24
SkyTraq Introduces Low-Power High-Performance GLONASS/GPS Receiver
Bacteria Living On Old-Growth Trees May Help Forests Grow
Tree-planting world record set in Philippines
Biodiversity In Danger: Which Areas Should Be Protected?
Experts Question Aspects Of Prescribed Burning
Amyris Technology Performs At Industrial Scale
Posco And LanzaTech To Collaborate On Renewable Energy
Abengoa Consolidates Position As Technological Leader
Joule Unlimited On Track To Beat All Known Biofuel Processes
Solar Frontier Starts Production At World's Largest CIS Solar Module Plant
ZenithSolar Signs Landmark Agreement With Chinese Government
DuPont Encapsulant Materials Enable Production, Performance And Cost Advantages
Clear Skies Solar Responds To Rapidly Expanding Market
Eon to build fifth U.K. offshore wind farm
GL Garrad Hassan Launches Onshore Wind Resource Mapping For UK
Construction Begins On Dempsey Ridge Wind Project
India's Suzlon wins $1.28 bn wind power deal
China says over 2,400 dead in coal mines in 2010
China mine blast death toll up to 26: state media
Seven found dead in China mine flood: state media
China mine flood traps at least seven: state media
China scraps death penalty for some crimes
China activists charged over 'Jasmine rally' call
China proposes death penalty for organ traffickers
Shanghai passes one-dog law
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|