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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Adoption of Newly Mated Queens: What Are the Consequences for Control?

Authors
item Vander Meer, Robert
item Alonso, Leeanne - THE XERCES SOCIETY

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Territorial and highly aggressive fire ant workers become non-aggressive toward conspecific workers and newly mated queens (NMQs) soon after the loss of the colony queen. The decrease in aggressivity leads to requeening of the colony through adoption of NMQs. If multiple NMQs are adopted and maintained, then polygyny occurs. Development of polygyne populations is most likely if queenless worker groups and subsequent adoption of NMQs occurs on a population-wide scale. Chemical treatment of soil or bait insecticide treatments have the potential to create population-wide queenless worker groups. The action of hydramethylnon is known to kill the queen but not all the workers. We demonstrated a correlation between the field treatments with hydramethylnon bait and the development of incipient polygyne populations. This represents a worst case scenario where attempts to control a monogyne population results in development of a polygyne population. Treatment produced queenless worker groups may never have the opportunity to adopt NMQs or ultimately adopt only a single queen. Newly mated queen adoption, regardless of the monogyne/polygyne end result will lead to faster than expected reinfestation. The usual explanation for reinfestation of treated field sites is peripheral, untreated colonies move in to fill the void and/or NMQs reinfest treated areas. Adoption of NMQs by queenless worker groups is now another option to consider when explaining reinfestation.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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