Wasabi could be secret ingredient to keep fire ants out of Japan
Asahi -- Mar 02
While some people don't like wasabi on their sushi, it turns out that potentially deadly fire ants don't have an appetite for it either.

The mind-numbing effects of Japanese horseradish may be the answer to keeping fire ants out of Japan and elsewhere, according to researchers.

The insects hate the organic compound that gives wasabi its pungent taste, experiments by Yoshiaki Hashimoto, an associate professor of entomology at the University of Hyogo, and others found.

The bug, known to kill other insects and small animals, is named for its bite that produces a painful burning sensation. People with allergies to its venom have been hospitalized for shock after being bitten, which in rare cases has even caused death.

Concerns about the invasive alien species arriving in Japan began climbing in 2017 when some were found in a port in Kyushu Prefecture near shipping containers from China.

Hashimoto and his team conducted their experiments using fire ants that had spread to Taiwan.

Capsules containing Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), responsible for wasabi's sharp flavor, were worked into "wasabi sheets" to determine if the condiment could be used to fight fire ants.

Ten traps were created using wasabi sheets and bait, while another 10 used sheets without the wasabi alongside the bait. The traps were left close to ant nests for about 40 minutes.

No fire ants wandered into the wasabi sheet traps, while an average of 157 were caught in the others.

News source: Asahi
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