REGIONAL INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF IMPORTED FIRE ANT
Biological Control of Pests Research Unit
Project Number: 6402-22320-003-00
Start Date: Oct 01, 2004
End Date: Sep 30, 2009
Our overall goal is to develop and implement new tools for sustainable management of imported fire ants in the context of regional integrated management programs. We will address four specific objectives applicable to regional programs: Objective 1: Collaborate with the Department of Entomology and Nematology at Mississippi State Univeristy to investigate differential effects of landscape and habit characteristics (including native ants) on distribution and density of genetically distinct imported fire ant populations using remote sensing technology. Objective 2: Examine impact and dynamics of genetically distinct imported fire ant populations in response to introduction of biological control agents. Objective 3: Improve imported fire ant bait acceptance, weather resistance, specificity and storage stability by modifying bait physical and chemical properties. Determine whether individual, genetically defined populations of fire ants vary in their bait acceptance. Objective 4: Collaborate with the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi to discover and develop new candidate insecticides for medical, veterinary, and urban entomology, based on natural product chemistries. Pending the outcome of the FY 2008 budget, a specific cooperative agreement shall specify that the NCNPR will hire a full-time entomological scientist to develop and perform bioassays and to participate in the research. The scope of the reseach will include development of new insecticidal compounds, environmental toxicological testing of promising candidate products, and cooperation to develop promising candidate products as potential commercial insecticides.
Develop and implement new tools for sustainable management of imported fire ants in the context of regional management programs. Each objective below is applicable to ongoing regional programs, which are designed to facilitate collaboration and provide a framework for developing stakeholder-specific, sustainable solutions to fire ant problems. The Mid South Imported Fire Ant Management Program, comprised of state and federal agencies and university partners, has been established to develop such collaborative efforts. This program consists of cooperators from four universities, four federal agencies, three state agencies, and private landowners. We are initiating regional management programs with two stakeholders: (1) Ball-and-burlap nursery plant producers in south-central Tennessee, and (2) the National Park Service, Natchez Trace Parkway. Various research activities along the Natchez Trace Parkway by ARS personnel and collaborators are covered under a National Park Service permit (#NATR-2003-SCI-0012).