The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is of great concern because of its destructive nature to endemic wildlife, livestock, and people. Various methods for managing this pest are currently being developed, including the use of viruses as biological control agents. In this study, the effectiveness of the Solenopsis invicta virus (SINV-1), (a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus in the Dicistroviridae family (Genus: Aparavirus) which only infects the Genus Solenopsis) as an effective biological control agent against S. invicta infestation combination with commonly used insecticides was investigated. Surprisingly, ants treated with the virus experienced significantly greater survival rates than non-infected but chemically treated individuals. SINV-1 might provide some unidentified benefit to aid individual ant survival, however at this point, without fully understanding the virus-ant interaction, the use of SINV-1 as a biological control agent requires further investigation.


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