Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Mating flights of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, typically occur one to two days after a rain, when soil temperatures are between 24 and 32 C and surface winds are low (Rhoades and Davis 1967, Morrill 1974, Milio et al. 1988). Prior to flight, workers open special exit holes in the mound and winged alates emerge from the nest (Markin et al. 1971). At this time, workers swarm excitedly over the mound and exhibit many characteristics of alarm behavior, including frenzied running, rapid back and forth movement, and increased aggression (Markin et al. 1971, Obin and Vander Meer 1994). The purpose of this heightened worker activity may be to protect and aid alates in their flight, or to ready workers for attacks against newly mated queens attempting to initiate colonies near their mounds (Fowler 1982).