Pesticides make some ants more aggressive

Sub-lethal exposure to some commonly used pesticides (such as neonicotinoids) can make big impacts on insect communities and their invasion success.

Examining the invasive Argentine ant (which is widely established in New Zealand) and the native Southern ant, scientists found that invasive ant species were more aggressive and more likely to survive conflicts with native ant species after exposure to the pesticide.

At the same time, the native species became less aggressive after being exposed to the same pesticide.

These results show that sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids could give invading ants a significantly higher chance of monopolising food sources and a higher survival rate.

Read more at Victoria University of Wellington