Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2005
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The red exported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, was accidentally introduced into the United States in the 1930s, probably from populations along the Paraguay River in Argentina, Paraguay or Brazil. Today it occupies the entire southeastern United States and much of the Caribbean. It recently jumped to the West Coast of the United States and across the Pacific to Brisbane, Australia. Imported fire ants in the United States are estimated to cause annual losses of nearly 6 billion US$ to agriculture, electrical equipment, and medical care for humans and this does not include extensive environmental damage. Fire ant populations in the United States are generally 5-10 times higher than in South America. Escape from natural enemies left behind in South America is the most like reason for this difference. This talk will detail cooperative efforts between scientists in the United States (USDA-ARS, Gainesville, Florida; University of Texas at Austin) and Brazil (Embrapa Meio Ambiente, Jaguariúna/SP; UNESP - Rio Claro/SP; UNICAMP, Campinas/SP; UFV, Viçosa/MG; CEPLAC, Ilhéus/BA) to collect, export, rear and release the fire ant decapitating fly Pseudacteon tricuspis as a self-sustaining or classical biocontrol agent in the United States. This fly is currently firmly established in eight states in the United States and Puerto Rico. Additional cooperation is needed between Brazil and the United States to evaluate and export several additional species of decapitating flies and other natural fire ant enemies.