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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF IMPORTED FIRE ANTS AND EMERGING URBAN PEST PROBLEMS

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Title: Simplified approaches to determine the attractant preference of Solenopsis incivta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Authors
item Kafle, Lekhnath - NAT. TAIWAN UNIVERS.
item Wu, Wen-Jer - NAT. TAIWAN UNIVERS.
item Vander Meer, Robert
item Shih, Cheng-Jen - NAT. TAIWAN UNIVERS.

Submitted to: Japanese Journal of Applied Entmology and Zoology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2008
Publication Date: September 2, 2008
Citation: Kafle, L., Wu, W., Vander Meer, R.K., Shih, C. 2008. Simplified approaches to determine the attractant preference of Solenopsis incivta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Japanese Journal of Applied Entmology and Zoology.43:383-390.

Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an invasive species that has been introduced into the United States and more recently into several countries in the Asian-Pacific region. Knowledge of the foraging dynamics of this pest ant is important in understanding its interactions with native ant species and in devising the most effective toxic bait control methods. A scientist at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS, Gainesville, Florida and the National University of Taiwan, Department of Entomology, Taipei, Taiwan, investigated the foraging dynamics of fire ants in terms of: ant density, foraging area, number of food lures, and the presence or absence of the queen. It was determined that the queen enhances foraging, the larger the foraging area the fewer workers/food lure, and that 2.5 hours of observations gave optimal results. These data lay the groundwork for further studies in optimizing the effectiveness of fire ant bait toxicants under the unique conditions of Taiwan.

Technical Abstract: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an invasive species that has been introduced into the United States and more recently into several countries in the Asian-Pacific region. Knowledge of the foraging dynamics of this pest ant is important in understanding its interactions with native ant species and in devising the most effective toxic bait control methods. In this study the effect of worker density, size of the foraging area, the number of food lures, duration of experiments, and the effect of the queen on foraging activity were investigated under laboratory conditions. The results showed that of the four ant densities investigated (very small, small, medium and high) the medium ant density most consistently had more workers at the food lures than the other ant density situations. The percentage of worker ants at the food lures was negatively correlated with an increase in foraging territory size for all four worker ant densities. Significantly fewer foragers were observed in the foraging areas when a queen was present, then when the queen was absent. In addition, when the number of food lures was increased from 1 to12, the mean number of workers found at the lures was significantly higher when four food lures were present. Furthermore, the number of worker ants observed on the food lures increased for the first 2.5 h and then decreased with time. The study suggests that observations of foraging activity could be restricted to 2.5 h. These data lay the groundwork for further studies in optimizing the effectiveness of fire ant bait toxicants.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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