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Article

Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Bulb Powder on Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta)

1
Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology of the Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
2
Department of plant protection, Zhongkai University of Agricultural and Engineering, Guangzhou 510225, China
3
College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering, Guangzhou 510225, China
4
Department of Environmental Horticulture and Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Apopka, FL 32703, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2020, 12(11), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110731
Received: 18 September 2020 / Revised: 7 November 2020 / Accepted: 17 November 2020 / Published: 21 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Basic Research for the Potential Use of Plant Toxins)
Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale L.) is a medicinal plant as it contains high concentrations of colchicine. In this study, we reported that the ground powder of autumn crocus bulb is highly toxic to invasive Solenopsis invicta Buren, commonly referred to as red imported fire ants (RIFAs). Ants fed with sugar water containing 5000 mg/L of bulb powder showed 54.67% mortality in three days compared to 45.33% mortality when fed with sugar water containing 50 mg/L of colchicine. Additionally, the effects of short-term feeding with sugar water containing 1 mg/L of colchicine and 100 mg/L of autumn crocus bulb powder were evaluated for RIFAs’ colony weight, food consumption, and aggressiveness, i.e., aggregation, grasping ability, and walking speed. After 15 days of feeding, the cumulative colony weight loss reached 44.63% and 58.73% due to the sublethal concentrations of colchicine and autumn crocus bulb powder, respectively. The consumption of sugar water and mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) was substantially reduced. The aggregation rates decreased 48.67% and 34.67%, grasping rates were reduced to 38.67% and 16.67%, and walking speed decreased 1.13 cm/s and 0.67 cm/s as a result of the feeding of the two sublethal concentrations of colchicine and autumn crocus bulb powder, respectively. Our results for the first time show that powder derived from autumn crocus bulbs could potentially be a botanical pesticide for controlling RIFAs, and application of such a product could be ecologically benign due to its rapid biodegradation in the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: autumn crocus; Colchicum autumnale; colchicine; invasive species; pest control; red imported fire ant (RIFA) autumn crocus; Colchicum autumnale; colchicine; invasive species; pest control; red imported fire ant (RIFA)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, S.; Qin, D.; Zhang, Y.; Zheng, Q.; Yang, L.; Cheng, D.; Huang, S.; Chen, J.; Zhang, Z. Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Bulb Powder on Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta). Toxins 2020, 12, 731. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110731

AMA Style

Lin S, Qin D, Zhang Y, Zheng Q, Yang L, Cheng D, Huang S, Chen J, Zhang Z. Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Bulb Powder on Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta). Toxins. 2020; 12(11):731. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110731

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lin, Sukun, Deqiang Qin, Yue Zhang, Qun Zheng, Liupeng Yang, Dongmei Cheng, Suqing Huang, Jianjun Chen, and Zhixiang Zhang. 2020. "Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Bulb Powder on Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta)" Toxins 12, no. 11: 731. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110731

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