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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

2007 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
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.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
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.


3.Progress Report
Large Demonstration Sites: Co-operators within FL, MS, SC, TX, and OK wrapped up their work plans at the large sites. They conducted the final evaluations of the fire ant populations, collected the final pitfall traps, collected final samples for Thelohania (fire ant disease), and monitored the establishment and spread of the parasitic fly. Co-operators prepared fire-ant data files which were then sent to Gainesville for collation and analysis. Samples collected from pitfall trapping and Thelohania monitoring required additional time and labour. Co-operators sent data from these activities as they processed samples. Co-operators submitted final reports for large demonstration sites to the project coordinator in June 2007. Data from the Areawide project large demonstration sites are being analyzed.

High Value Sites: Co-operators concluded all activities at the high value sites by late summer of 2007. Monitoring of fire ant populations was conducted and treatments were coordinated based upon a pre-determined threshold for fire ant activity. Co-operators worked with site managers to ensure all activities were targeted to meet unique needs of each site. A total of twelve high value sites were involved with the Areawide Suppression of Imported Fire Ants. Site use included three golf courses, two cemeteries, two public campgrounds, two private quail ranches, one state and one county park, and one public school. Co-operators submitted final reports for high value sites to the project coordinator in August 2007.

Education & Outreach: The website was updated in January 2007. Co-operators contributed to the education and outreach efforts in April 2007, by participating in documentary-style interviews that highlight unique aspects and accomplishments of this Area-wide program.


4.Accomplishments
Technology Transfer at High Value Sites. The high value demonstration sites establish a working relationship between ARS and property managers so that both parties may design a practical fire ant management plan that accommodates customers’ budget and unique land-use needs. It is intended that customers will adopt methods and technologies demonstrated at high value sites. By committing to a one-year work plan, ARS co-operators have demonstrated effective fire ant control strategies that address the needs of a diverse group of customers including (but not limited to) parks, camp grounds, schools, and golf courses. At the conclusion of the work plan, customers at Oklahoma and Florida high value sites indicated they would adopt ARS methods and technologies demonstrated at individual sites. The Florida customers intend to purchase appropriate equipment and apply demonstrated methods to potentially 26 parks that they manage. This accomplishment is in alignment with National Program 104 - Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology. The research addresses the Problem Statement associated with Action Plan Component 4: Control Technology and specific Action Plan Goal 4.3 Area-wide Control.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of web sites managed2
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences1

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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