We investigated whether the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), trail pheromone, Z9–16:Ald, could enhance recruitment to and consumption of liquid sucrose solutions. All tests were done as paired comparisons with a 10% sucrose solution as food. In the laboratory, mixing 20 μl of a 10-μg/ml solution of the pheromone with 50 μl of the 10% sucrose solution increased the number of ants feeding by >150%. In a field test, we combined the trail pheromone with a 10% sucrose solution in 50-ml vials. These vials were covered with a plastic membrane that has 1.5-mm-diameter holes punched uniformly across its surface. Ants could drink from the holes after the vials were inverted. For half of the vials, 1 μg of the pheromone was put onto the plastic membrane before the vials were filled with a 10% sucrose solution. The remaining vials had no pheromone on the plastic membrane. After 4 h we measured the consumption in each vial. Bait consumption with the pheromone was enhanced by 29%. In a 2nd series of tests, vials were left outside for 24 h. The consumption rate was 33% higher with the pheromone compared with the controls that didn’t have pheromone.
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Vol. 93 • No. 1