This glossary defines the technical terms used on the site that new users might not be familiar with. As well as a definition, we provide an indication of where on the site the term is used (i.e. Relates to).
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Active surveillance: a planned process targeted to find and identify a particular new pest. Relates to Prevention.
Antennal club: enlarged segments that form a club-like structure at the end of the antenna. They can be composed of two, three or four segments. Relates to Identification.
Bait shyness: when ants are being treated with pesticides they can learn to avoid the bait. This is because once the ants in the nest start dying they avoid the food source (the bait). If treatments are spaced more widely (sometimes as little as 4 weeks but sometimes as much as 3 months) bait shyness can be avoided.
Biological control: a means of controlling pests using other living organisms that relies on predation (animals killing other animals for food), herbivory (animals eating plants) or parasitism (using other animals or plants for food, but not killing them outright). There are currently no effective biological controls for invasive ants.
Budding: mode of colony reproduction where new queens do not participate in mating flights, but instead walk away from the nest they were born in with a small group of workers and establish new colonies nearby.
Buffer zone: An area surrounding or directly beside a pest population, that is not infested with that pest. It is often treated with toxic baits, or has other special control measures applied to it (such as keeping it clear of objects or debris that could provide nesting sites) in order to reduce the likelihood of the target pest spreading.
Cost-benefit analysis: a means of assessing the costs (financial, social and environmental) of a number of different management options and weighing them against the benefits gained by undertaking these actions.
Destruction: a control method that neutralises a potential threat, such as heat treatment, fumigation or cold treatment. This action may result in the carrier item being destroyed: e.g. if a potted plant that is found to have ants nesting among its roots is heat treated, the plant may also be killed.
EC50: median effective concentration. This may be reported for sub-lethal or ambiguously lethal effects and is used in tests involving species such as aquatic invertebrates where death may be difficult to determine.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA): an EIA is an analysis of the potential non-target effects of a management plan or activity on the environment. An ESIA also includes social and economic impacts. Both analyses also include suggestions on how these potential non-target effects can be made less serious.
Eradication: the removal of every individual of a species from the infested country, such that the only way the species could re-establish is to re-enter the country from another country. Eradication should be demonstrated by surveillance.
Half-life: the half-life is the time required for half of the compound to break down in the environment. Thus, 1 half-life = 50% remaining, 2 half-lives = 25% remaining, 3 half-lives = 12% remaining, 4 half-lives = 6% remaining, 5 half-lives = 3% remaining. Some chemicals metabolise or degrade into other chemicals of toxicological significance, and half-lives can vary widely depending on environmental factors.
Impact(s): A routinely used term in invasion ecology and management that refers to the negative effects of an invasive species on resident native organisms (biodiversity), agriculture, economy, health or lifestyle.
Incursion: A single arrival event of an invasive species in a new environment. Typically an incursion is identified at the time of arrival (or first detection), and an incursion response plan developed. The arrival of an organism within a country after it has crossed the border.
Incursion response plan: Effectively an emergency response plan to deal with a newly detected incursion of an invasive species. Incursion response plans include a number of steps including: 1) initial detection and response; 2) delimiting survey and; 3) draft management plan, including a surveillance plan, a plan for treatment and eradication (if possible), a communications strategy, specifications for movement controls, monitoring progress, a budget, and an organisational plan.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM): The goal of IPM is to keep pest populations to a level below which that are doing harm. IPM involves using multiple control options together for the economic control of pests. In an agricultural context the Food and Agriculture Organization defines IPM as "the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms".
Invasive ants / invasive ant species: an exotic or non-native ant species that becomes destructive to the environment or human interests in one or more ecological or environmental contexts. Not all invasive ants have major negative effects, and for many species the effects are density-dependent (i.e. effects only occur or are perceived by humans as negative when a threshold of abundance is reached). These are outbreaking species. Threat ant species are those invasive ant species known to have significant impacts in multiple ecological or environmental contexts and / or are prone to outbreaks. Emerging threat ant species are those that have recently been identified as having, or having potential to result in significant impacts. In the context of this Activity, this also refers to exotic or non-native ant species that may be considered a threat for the first time, for which there are no existing processes for biosecurity or management.
Management: reducing or eliminating the impacts of established invasive species, by eradication, containment, exclusion, or population reduction by physical, chemical or biological control. Note that although the title of the SPC and SPREP Guidelines for Invasive Species Management in the Pacific refers to management, in this latter context biosecurity is included as part of management.
Movement Control: preventing an invasive ant from spreading by Controlled Area Notices and Restricted Place Notices and their conditions. Also includes the processing of movement permits, management of perimeter controls, hygiene barriers and signage, and the provision of conveyance decontamination sites.
NOEL: no observed effect level. Relating to a pesticide, the level below which no effects are observed. RfD: Reference Dose, or in this case, the estimated amount of fipronil ingested per day, for the rest of their life without any appreciable risk of adverse health effects.
Passive surveillance: the detection of exotic species through haphazard, unplanned and unsolicited observations by the general public, farmers, orchardists, gardeners, veterinarians, plant pathologists and others.
Polymorphic: workers occurring in different sizes. In Pheidole, there is a distinct large worker caste (referred to as majors or soldiers) and a distinct minor worker caste (referred to as minors). In Solenopsis invicta, S. geminata and Monomorium destructor the castes are less distinct, with wide range of sizes from very small to very large.
Thorax: the part of an ant between the head and the abdomen. The 'middle' of an ant.
Vector: A vector is the object that moves an invasive species from one place to another. This may be a vehicle (car, truck, or boat); a commodity (bananas, taro, breadfruit); or other method of movement.
A number of these definitions were sourced or adapted from the PIAkey, the SPREP/SPC Guidelines, the book Managing Biosecurity across borders, an MPI publication, which features an extensive biosecurity glossary geared more toward animal diseases.