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Discovery may help in war against fire ants

raising Strepsiptera in mass numbers, could provide an alternative to pesticides. Kathirithamby has used them with success as parasites of long-horned grasshopper a pest in palm oil plantations in Papua, New Guinea.

Using Strepsiptera as a predator to fire ants would provide "an option for people who don't want to use an insecticide," Johnston said. For instance, this type of biological control could be used near water or near schools, he explained.

To control fire ants, crickets could be mass-reared, contaminated with the parasite, and released, or the first infective stage if it is the right sex could be sprinkled on mounds, he said.


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Contact: Edith Chenault
e-chenault1@tamu.edu
979-845-2886
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
8-Aug-2003


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