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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Advancement on Techniques for the Separation and Maintenance of the Red Imported Fire Ant Colonies

item Chen, Jian

Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 2006
Publication Date: February 21, 2007
Repository URL:
Citation: Chen, J. 2007. advancement on techniques for the separation and maintenance of the red imported fire ant colonies. Insect Science.

Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant is one of the most notorious pest ants with a significant negative impact on human health, agriculture, livestock, and wildlife. Collecting and maintaining ant colonies are crucial for many ant researchers. Several innovations have recently been made in our laboratory for colony separation and maintenance. Application of these new techniques will significantly reduce labor, cost and environmental contamination.

Technical Abstract: Advancement has recently been made on the techniques for separating and maintaining colonies of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren. A new brood rescue method significantly improved the efficiency in separating colony from mound soil. Furthermore, a new method was developed to separate brood from the colony using fire ant repellants. Finally, a cost-effective method was developed to coat containers with Fluon, an aqueous polytetrafluoroethylene, to prevent housed ants from escaping a container. Usually the original Fluon solution is directly applied to the wall of the containers. Reduced concentrations of Fluon were found to be equally effective in preventing ant escape. The use of diluted Fluon solutions to coat the containers was recommended because of environmental and cost-saving benefits. Application of these new techniques can significantly reduce labor, cost and environmental contamination. This paper collates all the new techniques in one reference which readers can use as a manual.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
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