Submitted to: Extension Service Bulletins
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2008
Publication Date: April 25, 2008
Citation: Flanders, K., Graham, F., Porter, S.D., Oi, D.H. 2008. Biological Control of Imported Fire Ants. Extension Service Bulletins. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Interpretive Summary: Not Required.
Technical Abstract: Since 1998, the Alabama Fire Ant Management Program has been releasing natural enemies of imported fire ants. These natural enemies are being studied to determine their impact on fire ants. It is hoped that eventually the overall number of fire ants in Alabama can be reduced through biological control methods. This publication provides information about fire ant parasitic flies (Pseudacteon spp.) and updated information about other biological control agents of fire ants that are being studied. Decapitating flies have now been released in sixteen Alabama counties and two species, Pseudacteon curvatus and Pseudacteon tricuspis, have established populations that are spreading throughout the state at a rate of 10 to 12 miles per year. Currently, populations cover one-half to two-thirds of Alabama. Pseudacteon litoralis was released in Wilcox County in 2005 and is the first location in the US where three species of decapitating flies co-exist. Thelohania solenopsae a pathogen of fire ants was released in Macon County, however it has not established. Research on the biological control of fire ants is continuing with viruses and nematodes being recently discovered infecting this invasive pest.