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Ecologisch effect Lasius neglectus


Global biodiversity is threatened by numerous human induced processes. One of these is the spread of alien invasive species (IAS) through increased globalisation. In the world’s top 100 IAS five ant species are found. These ant species cause a threat to biodiversity, agricultural land, human health, infrastructure and human safety. Lasius neglectus is one, but not from the five aforementioned, of these invasive alien ant species, first recorded in the Netherlands 1978. In 2018, L. neglectus is found in 14 cities and while mapping these colonies experiments where performed to determine its ecological effects. To fill these gaps in knowledge hypothesis have been derived: (1) The diversity/density of invertebrates is lower inside L. neglectus territory compared to outside L. neglectus territory. (2) The scavenging pressure of L. neglectus is higher compared to L. niger. (3) The Sternorrhyncha density is higher when L. neglectus is present on Acer pseudoplatanus, compared to when they are not present. 

Lasius neglectus Uhlelo Onderzoek
Plaagmier Lasius neglectus Uhlelo Onderzoek

Ecological effects of the invasive garden ant Lasius neglectus in
The Netherlands

The question I asked during this research is can conditioned A. mellifera detect A. gracilipes scent? This was tested by using the PER (proboscis extension reflex). A. mellifera was exposed to A. gracilipes scented sugar-water in different ways and for different durations. Once exposed they were tested by only presenting the A. gracilipes scent and either a PER was present or absent to this scent. During this research trained bees only had a 2,7% average positive PER occurrence to the A. gracilipes scent over all training methods, suggesting that bees cannot be trained to detect A. gracilipes scent. The method however was successful by also training bees to lavender which resulted in an average 40% positive PER occurrence, which was found significant over the bees trained to detect the A. gracilipes scent (P<0,0001). There is reason to believe that the scent is not specific or strong enough, for bees to be conditioned to. Pheromones might be a solution, because they are the specific scent of A. gracilipess. Analysation of the A. gracilipes pheromones using gas chemotography – mass spectrometry, to then create bioassays which can be dissolved into sugar-water could be the solution. If bees are then trained to this scent one might find more success and develop a method which could be successful in localizing not only A. gracilipess but different invasive species all over the world.

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