insectos – FuEDEI Foundation for the study of invasive species Tue, 08 Jan 2019 14:31:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Biological control of fire ants with parasitoid flies Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:36:05 +0000 For more than a decade, researchers at FuEDEI have been collaborating with the United States on the control of these ants with small flies from Argentina.

news_001A parasitoid fly ready to parasitize a Solenopsis invicta worker (Photo: S. Porter).
Since the mid 1990´s, staff of FuEDEI has intensively cooperated with Dr. Sanford Porter at the Imported Fire Ants and Household Insects Research Unit, located in Gainesville, Florida, USA, surveying and studying the biology, ecology, and genetics of several species of Pseudacteon parasitoid flies in Argentina. These flies lay eggs internally in the thorax of worker ants; the larvae migrate to the head, consuming the internal tissues and decapitating the ants. As consequence of this cooperative agreement, several species of flies have been exported to quarantine facilities in Gainesville for further studies on biosecurity, efficacy, and mass rearing. Between 2000 and 2010, five species and two biotypes of flies from Argentina were finally released in southeastern US for the biological control of the fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri. Post-release studies have confirmed good establishment and distribution of most of the flies species; however, a significant effect on the ants has not been observed yet.
Invasive species and biological control Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:31:41 +0000 Classical biological control is a sustainable tool to fight against exotic invasive weeds and insects in natural, aquatic, forest, and urban environments.

news_003One of the agents used for the biological control of waterhyacinth, the weevil Neochetina bruchi (Photo: M. C. Hernández).

Biological invasions of weeds and insects have increased globally as a result of the world trade and movement of people. In the new environments, the invasive species usually lack their natural enemies and competitor organisms causing great ecological disturbance and economic losses. The use of natural enemies occurring in the place of origin of the pests can help to re-establish the biological balance in the invaded ecosystems. Scientifically-based classical biological control is the search of the natural enemies present in the native environment of the pests and the selection of those organisms which overcome demanding biosecurity tests. Only those organisms with high specificity are selected and later exported to quarantine facilities in the invaded regions. The successful implementation of this technique produces sustainable management of invasive species. One of the emblematic projects currently at FuEDEI is the program of biological control of waterhyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, started in the 1960´s with the exportation of two weevils to the USA, Central America, Africa and Asia. Although these weevils have successfully controlled waterhyacinth in many regions, in others, additional biocontrol agents will be necessary to complement the effect of the weevils.