Areawide Management of Imported Fire Ants
Biological Control of Pests Research Unit
Project Number: 6402-22320-008-02
Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jul 20, 2011
End Date: Jul 19, 2016
The goals of this project are: 1) to document distributions and interactions of imported fire ants and other invasive species of ants co-existing with native species of ants in different habitats, 2) to manage landscapes for increasing diversity of native species and provide competition to imported fire ants and other invasive species, and 3) to develop electronic resources on native and exotic species of ants for research, extension, industry, and the private sector. Accomplishment of these goals will provide measurements of the impact of imported fire ants and other invasive species on the native species in public lands. Experimental testing of different management strategies of habitats can be effective for selecting the best strategy for decreasing abundance of imported fire ants and increasing diversity of native species across an entire landscape. The application of information technology by development of web sites on ants and habitat management will facilitate outreach, information sharing, and support of other research and management projects.
Surveys of diversity and abundance of native and exotic ants will be conducted in eight National Forests and Wildlife Refuges as well as state parks and preserves in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Traps for flying reproductive of ants will be employed in coastal areas near ports of entry for detecting new introductions. Experiments with different management strategies, e.g., mowing regime, burning, and addition of native seeds, will be made on the Natchez Trace National Parkway. Management strategies will be combined with removal of important fire ants in some treatments for measuring the capacity for re-invasion of management areas. A web site on ants of the southeastern United States will be further developed to provide photographs and information on taxonomy, biology, distribution, and economic importance with links to other pages. Information will be coordinated with the ARS Information Office and the Mississippi State University Extension Service