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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Disruption of Fire Ant Foraging Through Global Distribution of the Fire Ant Recruitment Orientation Pheromone

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Project Number: 6036-32000-048-02-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2010
End Date: Jun 30, 2015

1. Determine under controlled laboratory conditions, the colony level effects of the distribution of excessive amounts of the fire ant pheromone on normal recruitment to food resources and in colony/colony competition. 2. Determine under semi-controlled field conditions whether or not a sustained release formulation of the fire ant recruitment orientation pheromone disrupts the fire ant’s ability to locate and recruit workers to food resources and for an extended period of time, thus impacting colony size and health.

1. Monogyne laboratory colonies will be derived from newly mated queens or from excavated colonies from the field. Colonies will be housed in large boxes that can be connected with bridges allowing contact between to different colonies. Treatments will be sustained release recruitment pheromone uniformly distributed on the foraging surface. Two colonies – one treated and the other a control will be bridged to a common foraging area. The dynamics of this competitive arrangement will be observed at least three times a day. The results will determine if the treatment confers a disadvantage, no advantage, or an advantage to the treated colony. Trailing events will be recorded and colony size, brood/workers, and presence of a queen will be periodically monitored as measures of colony health. 2. Monogyne field sites will be selected and manipulated by eliminating surrounding colonies so that target colonies have a well defined territory. The sustained release formulation of the fire ant recruitment orientation pheromone will be evenly distributed over the target colony territory and challenged systematically and over time with baits to determine their recruitment capabilities and the longevity of the sustained release formulation. Colony size will be monitored weekly using mound size and a population index measure. Brood production will be aslo measured weekly as a gage of queen productivity.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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