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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: AREA-WIDE SUPPRESSION OF FIRE ANT POPULATIONS IN PASTURES

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Project Number: 0500-00044-017-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 01, 2006
End Date: Aug 31, 2010

Objective:
Specific objectives are to develop and integrate sustainable fire ant management methods in areawide demonstration projects; to form long-term partnerships among Federal, State, and the private sector; and to transfer to customers economical and ecologically sound technologies to manage fire ants.

Approach:
This project will reduce and keep fire ant populations below an (arbitrary) threshold in pastures over a period of 3 years. For each demo in 3 states (Oklahoma, northern exteme of fire ant range; Texas, western extreme; Florida, firmly entrenched subtropical infestations), one 300 acre pasture will be treated only with pesticide bait applications, a second 300 acres will receive bait application and surrounding areas will be infested with 2 self-sustaining biocontrol agents (the phorid fly Pseudaccteon tricuspis, and the microsporidian disease agent Thelohania solenopsae), and a final 300 acres will be untreated and monitored for seasonal population fluctations. Monitoring will include mound counts and foraging activity (food lures) in approx. 30 1/8 to 1/2 acre circular plots in each 300 acre parcel and surrounding areas. In addition, establish small demonstration sites in 'high value" properties within areas with fire ant biocontrol agents, monitor fire ant populations using a food lure methodology, and make pesticide bait applications, and supplemental biocontrol agent inoculations as necessary. GPS and GIS technologies will be used to map observations and to create a comprehensive spatial database; spatial and temporal analyses will assess efficacy, reinfestation rates, establishment and spread of biocontrol agents, ecological impacts, and economic assessments.

Last Modified: 7/14/2014
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