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Development of Ant Insecticide

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With the increasing number of ants that already been recognized as a major pest ant (Chong et al., 2002), a few natural ant control has been developed. Ants cause a lot of trouble in houses, offices, hospitals, premises and other places (Chong et al., 2002).Problems associated with ants are food contamination, contamination of surgical equipment in hospitals, also act as mechanical vectors for human diseases (Lee, 2002) and wounds infections on patients’ body (Chong et al., 2002). Allergies, stings and bites also can give bad effect towards human (Lee, 2002).

In Malaysia, ants were one of the large quantities of household pest that lives in urban environment where they have a close relationship with humankind besides mosquitoes and cockroaches (Lee, 2002). Three major species of ants that can be found in Malaysia are the pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), the crazy ant ( Paratrechina longicornis) and also the odorous house ant ( Tapinoma sessile) (Lee, 2000). Other tropical household ant that effect in human daily life are ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum), big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.), Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and fire ant (Solenopsis spp.) (Lee, 2002). In Malaysia, about 25 species of ants were found nesting indoors and also outdoors. Most of the ant species nesting outdoors not including theif ants (Solenopsis molesta), pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), arboreal flower ant (Monomorium floricola) and also ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) where they prefer to nest indoors (Lee, 2002).

They are several ways to control ant from effecting human lives. The best way to control them is to find and treat their nest by using nonchemical methods or chemical methods (Hahn et al., 2004). The queen must be killed so that all colonies can be eliminated (Hahn et al., 2004). To control ant they are two types of methods which is nonchemical method and also chemical method (Hahn et al., 2004). Non-chemical methods such as suitable food storage and waste products, interrupt ant trails by using mild vinegar solution and water, flood the nests by using water or using gasoline to remove the nest are the most popular technique that has been used (Hahn et al., 2004). Chemical methods that usually use to control ants are insecticides or baits (Hahn et al., 2004). Insecticides are usually in form of liquid, granules or dust where normally we spray on them (Hahn et al., 2004). For the baiting technique, the bait which consist of protein and carbohydrate bases will feed by the workers and bring back to the nest and share with the colony (Antonelli, 2003; Hahn et al., 2004).. Insecticides contain several chemical that could effectively remove ants for examples, permethrin, carbaryl, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, acephate, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin and also permethrin (Hahn et al., 2004). For baits it usually contain boric acid or hydramethylnon where it will mixed with food that contain protein such as egg yolk, peanut butter, honey and other protein bases (Antonelli, 2003) .

Although they are many methods to control ant but it seems like most of the method used has fail to control it. One of the reason is most of the ant has developed insecticides resistance. Insecticides resistance is cause by the adaptability of ant towards insecticides (Mallet, 1989). The insecticides will no longer effective towards ants because it already build resistance towards that type of insecticides. Insecticides especially chemical insecticides can give harmful effect towards human, other animals, plants and also environment. Spray treatments by using chemical insecticides are mostly ineffective because it will repel these ants and can cause the colony to split into a number of colonies. The ant workers will transfer a little quantity of brood to another place to nest and a new colony to develop (Antonelli, 2003; Chong et al., 2002) . Baiting methods is one of most effective methods to control ants because this method can access the area that insecticide cannot reach (Hahn et al., 2004). Unfortunately baiting technique took a long time to eliminate a colony (Hahn et al., 2004). It may take a several weeks to several months to completely eliminate a colony (Hahn et al., 2004). Non-chemical method also ineffective, dangerous and give some bad effect towards environments (Hahn et al., 2004).

To improve control strategy against insect pest including ants especially fighting insecticides resistance they are many possible ways to improve it(KaraaÄŸaç, 2012). One of the ways to improve it are to create new insecticides. However this way is costly because of the downside of the market and other factors (Mallet, 1989). Another way is to look for an alternative to use as insecticides. In the other words, to look for products with insecticidal properties which not trigger any resistances. Many natural resources in the world can be used to make insecticides because it might contain some insecticidal compound. This include cigarette butt which has been recently shown to increase insecticidal effect on mosquito larvae (Dieng et al., 2011) . Cigarette butt is an important waste just like any other waste product in our daily life and can be used as insecticides. Natural resources like tea, coffee, and any other plant might have some insecticidal compound that can control pest like ants.

According to Tangchitphinitkan et al. (2007), some of herbal plant extracts can be used as insecticides to control ants. Plant extract is a good way to control ants because it doesn’t give any negative effect towards environment, human and also other animals. Ants also cannot produce resistance towards plant extract. One of the potential plant extract that could be used as insecticides is tea or scientific name is Camellia sinensis. Tea is famous as a beverage. Besides beverages, tea has been used for many purposes such as medicinal use, essential oil, perfumery, food flavouring and others. Tea contains some chemical compounds which are gallic tannin, alkaloid, steroids, flavonoids and also catecholic tannin. Alkaloids in plant are known to be harmful to many insect which there is possibility that tea may give effect towards the ants (Hopkins et al., 2009). Although tea is commonly used by human but they are little interest to use it as insecticides. Besides that, effect of tea extract on ants has never been explored clearly. If it happened that tea can directly or indirectly give effects towards ants similar to insect pest, the tea in the fresh form could be a practical way to turn it into a control form against insect such as ants.

To this end, the objectives for the experiments are:-

  1. I plan to investigate whether the fresh tea extract could give effect towards the survival of the ants.
  2. I also want to look into the foraging behavior of the ant when it contact with the fresh tea leaf extract.
  3. I want to observe the mortality rate of the ant when it is exposed to the fresh tea leaf extract.
  4. I also want to show that different concentration of fresh tea leaf extract may affect the ant.

Antonelli, L. A. (2003). Phraoh ant. Retrieved 10/12, 2013, from http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb1514e/eb1514e.pdf

Chong, A., Chong, N.-L., Yap, H.-H., & Lee, C.-Y. (2002). Effects of starvation on nutrient distribution in the Pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) workers and various larval stages. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Urban Pests. Pocahontas Press, Inc. Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

Dieng, H., Saifur, R. G., Ahmad, A. H., Md Rawi, C. S., Boots, M., Satho, T., . . . Miake, F. (2011). Discarded cigarette butts attract females and kill the progeny of aedes albopictus. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 27(3), 263-271.

Hahn, J., & Pellitteri, P. (2004). What to do about household ants. Retrieved 16/11, 2013, from http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/what-to-do-about-household-ants/docs/household-ants.pdf

Hopkins, W. G., & Huner, N. P. A. (2009). Introdiction to plant physiology (4th ed.). United States of America: John Wiley & Sons,Inc.

KaraaÄŸaç, S. U. (2012). Insecticide Resistance, Insecticides- Advances in Integrated Pest Management (F. Perveen Ed. 1 ed.). Croatia: Intech.

Lee, C. Y. (2000). Performance of hydramethylnon-and fipronil-based containerized baits against household ants in residential premises. Tropical Biomedicine, 17(1), 45-48.

Lee, C. Y. (2002). Tropical household ants: pest status, species diversity, foraging behavior and baiting studies. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress on Urban Pests.

Mallet, J. (1989). The evolution of insecticide resistance: have the insects won? Trends in ecology & evolution, 4(11), 336-340.

Tangchitphinitkan, P., Visetson, S., Maketon, M., & Milne, M. (2007). Effects of some herbal plant extracts against pharaoh ant, Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus). KMITL Sci. Tech, 155-159.

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