Regional Management of Imported Fire Ants along the Natchez Trace
Richard Brown - MS St. Univ. Phone: (662) 325-2085 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Oliver - TN St. Univ. Phone: (931) 668-3572 Email: email@example.com
Jack T. Reed - MS St. Univ. Phone: (662) 325-2085 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Streett - ARS Phone: (662) 686-5229 Email: email@example.com
Larry Thead - ARS Phone: (662) 320-7443 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Vogt - ARS Phone: (662) 686-3065 Email: email@example.com
Kenneth Ward - AL A&M Phone: (256) 858-4249 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rufina Ward - AL A&M Phone: (256) 858-4244 Email: email@example.com
The purposes of this study are twofold; first, to integrate existing technology and develop new technologies for imported fire ant suppression while preserving native ant species. Secondly, researchers will take advantage of the varied habitats and cultural practices along the length of the Natchez Trace to gather ecological information about interactions between imported fire ants, native ants, and the environment. Several research projects will be performed consecutively by different Investigators, including:
1. Survey and inventory of ants on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Several sampling methods will be integrated to determine ant biodiversity, activity periods, and habitat occurrence along the Natchez Trace.
2. Use of decapitating flies for biological control of black and hybrid imported fire ants. A natural enemy of fire ants, the phorid fly Pseudacteon curvatus has been approved for release in the United States. Researchers will study ant biodiversity, population densities, and activity at sites where they release these flies to compare with sites where the fly is not present.
3. Investigation of novel means of preserving native ants while suppressing imported fire ants. Researchers have determined peak activity periods and temperatures for native ants and imported fire ants, and will attempt to time insecticidal bait applications for times when imported fire ants are most active but native ants are least active. They will then assess impact of the bait treatments on imported and native ants over time.
4. Thelohania solenopsae and the Natchez Trace parkway. Thelohania solenopsae is a fire ant pathogen that occurs naturally but patchily in imported fire ants. Researchers will conduct a survey for the presence of this disease organism along the Natchez Trace, then choose two areas along the Natchez Trace in which they will augment bait applications with introduction of the pathogen. Establishment and inter-colonial transmission of the pathogen will be investigated.