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Escovopsis spores

Escovopsis spores - Biology Forum

Escovopsis spores - Biology Forums. Ask questions and discuss the study of Biology. If you have Biology questions from your homework ask them here!


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  #1  
Old 03-11-2009, 01:51 PM
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Default Escovopsis spores



Hello: I hope this is the correct forum for this, if not please direct me.

I am neither a biologist nor a scientist. My knowledge of fungi is virtually nil, however I am a farly quick study. That is my up front disclaimer.

I have a serious infestation of leaf cutter ants. These ants can destroy a vegetable garden in only a couple of nights. I am almost at the point of planting for the spring.

I have tried numerous control techniques, mostly without measurable success. I am trying to avoid chemicals. The best success I have had so far, and it is limited, is to use high pressure water to penetrate down into the colony and disrupt their tunnels and chambers, hoping to contaminate their fungus chambers and eventually starve them out.

The problem with that approach is the colony is so large and deep that I can not get to enough of the fungus farms to take them over the critical point. The water injection does work nearly 100% on small colonies.

I recently read that Escovopsis spores have a fatal effect on the ant's fungus farms. This strikes me as a potentially reasonable control measure.

I have some questions though, that are not answered in the available literature. Please help.

1. If I did use Escovopsis spores on the colony, is there a chance that this would create an enviornmental problem that would make the use unreasonable? Killer Bees kind of thing? I don't want to unleash the fungus that eats the world.

2. Where can I find a basic treatise on the propagation of spores, as in how to do it myself at home?

3. Is there a supply house that can provide the Escovopsis spores and the necessary basic equipment to propagate the spores?

I would appreciate any help along these lines. By the way, if anyone is interested in the outcome, let me know what information you want, and how to collect it; and I will share it with you as it is available.

Since this is a hemisphere wide agricultural problem, there is potential here for doing some small good for world food supply.

Thank you very much for any and all help and suggestions.

ADDED on March 12 - Just read that the attine's collect the Escovopsis in an internal chamber in their body, treat it with an anti-biotic to kill it, pelletize it and discard the pellets. The report states that the pellets rarely contain viable Escovopsis - which could mean that sometimes the pellets do carry vialbe Escovopsis. This could be an outstanding way of starting a culture in the field. Imagine if a simple kit was available that could be used under primitive conditions to collect the pellets (assuming these are the pellets I see the ants carrying to the surface and discarding) and culturing the Escovopsis from them, then using it to destroy the colony. This could be distributed to 3rd world farmers. Here is a brief excerpt from the report, which can be found at: Oops, I can't post a URL yet, not until I have 5 posts. Anyone interested can email me and I will send the link.

Quote:
The infrabuccal pocket, a filtering structure within
the oral cavity of ants, is a key component in leafcutter
hygienic behaviours (Quinlan & Cherrett
1978). Detritus and potentially hazardous debris that
ants gather while cleaning themselves, the nest area,
or the fungus garden is accumulated in the pocket
(Bailey 1920). Once full, the compressed material is
expelled from the pocket as a pellet.

Last edited by Butch50; 03-12-2009 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Escovopsis is not uncommon in North America so I'd not worry about "unleashing" some monster pathogen.

You might be able to get a culture from ATCC (they have one pathogenic for ants - 64542) but doubt you'd be successful in culturing it aseptically with neither training nor equipment.

Suggest you contact guys doing the research in US (esp. Kansas) and Canada and talk to them.
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:53 PM
Pipette Filler
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Quote:
Escovopsis is not uncommon in North America so I'd not worry about "unleashing" some monster pathogen.

You might be able to get a culture from ATCC (they have one pathogenic for ants - 64542) but doubt you'd be successful in culturing it aseptically with neither training nor equipment.

Suggest you contact guys doing the research in US (esp. Kansas) and Canada and talk to them.
Hey Thanks! I appreciate the info. Can you tell me who in Kansas is doing the research?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge1907 View Post
Escovopsis is not uncommon in North America so I'd not worry about "unleashing" some monster pathogen.

You might be able to get a culture from ATCC (they have one pathogenic for ants - 64542) but doubt you'd be successful in culturing it aseptically with neither training nor equipment.

Suggest you contact guys doing the research in US (esp. Kansas) and Canada and talk to them.

Thanks for the information. ATCC does have the escovopsis. Do you suppose a home-made lab such as this: See my 5th post for URL might work?

Can you tell me who in Kansas is working on this?

Thanks again!
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:52 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

4th post
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

5th post: URL to home lab set up: [Only registered users see links. ]



This is an explanation of how to build a home mycology culturing clean lab. It looks to me like it would work, any opinions?

Last edited by Butch50; 03-18-2009 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Add URL
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Butch50, call your local Ag agent; they are knowledgeable and useful.
They are already paid and don't charge a fee.
Good luck!
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Butch50, call your local Ag agent; they are knowledgeable and useful.
They are already paid and don't charge a fee.
Good luck!
Our local Ag agents are all working on poison type methods. The attines are hard to kill with poison because they live so deep. They are very difficult to kill with baits because they only eat the fungus that they grow.

Attine's carry their own downfall with them in the form of a fungus that eats their food fungus. That is why I am interested in trying a fungal control.
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:25 PM
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Default Re: Escovopsis spores

Doubt ATCC will help but you could try. for the researchers - try pubmed.com or google scholar.
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