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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY BASED PEST MANAGEMENT IN MODERN CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory

Title: Ant diversity and distribution (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) throughout Maine lowbush blueberry fields in Hancock and Washington counties

Authors
item Choate, Beth
item Drummond, Francis -

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 17, 2012
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Citation: Choate, B.A., Drummond, F.A. 2012. Ant diversity and distribution (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) throughout Maine lowbush blueberry fields in Hancock and Washington counties. Environmental Entomology. 41(2):222-232.

Interpretive Summary: A six-year survey (2003-2008) identifying the ant species present in Maine lowbush blueberry fields was conducted in Washington and Hancock counties. Four different methods of collecting ants were employed during this survey to characterize the resident ant community. The effect of blueberry crop stage, pest management methods, and field location on species was determined. A total of 42 species were collected from blueberry fields, comprising five subfamilies and 15 genera. Three species collected had not previously been found in Maine. Ants were most diverse in organic fields, and along the edge and within the wooded areas surrounding fields. Results suggest insecticide application reduces ant diversity. Maine is the largest producer of lowbush blueberry in the world, with this crop contributing $250 million to the economy in 2007. These results provide baseline knowledge to aid in the development of sustainable production practices that reduce chemical inputs and enhance populations of beneficial insects.

Technical Abstract: A six-year survey (2003-2008) identifying the ant fauna present in Maine lowbush blueberry fields was conducted in Washington and Hancock counties. Pitfall trapping, leaf litter and hand collections, as well as protein and sugar baits were employed to characterize the resident ant community in this habitat. Estimates of faunal richness as impacted by the blueberry crop stage (pruned or fruit-bearing), methods of pest management (grower standard, reduced-risk or organic) and location within fields (middle, edge or forested perimeters) were determined. A total of 42 species were collected from blueberry fields, comprising five subfamilies and 15 genera. Myrmica sculptilis Francoeur, Myrmica americana Weber, and Formica exsectoides Forel were the three most abundant species. Formica ulkei Emery, Myrmecina americana Emery, and Leptothorax canadensis Provancher represent new species records for Maine. Ants were most diverse in organic fields, and along the edge and within the wooded areas surrounding fields. Results suggest insecticide application reduces ant diversity.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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