Project Number: 6036-32000-051-03-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jan 1, 2016
End Date: Dec 31, 2017
1) Identify and/or develop an effective water resistant fire ant bait formulation and 2) determine the prevalence and spread of fire ant biological control agents released in 2014 and 2015 to enhance the integrated pest management of red imported fire ants in the Coachella Valley, California.
Lab assays will test selected granular fire ant baits for water-resistance and efficacy against fire ant colonies. Liquid baits absorbed onto a hydrogel carrier will also be tested in lab assays for water stability and efficacy. Promising formulations will be further tested outdoors in potted nursery stock under micro-sprinkler irrigation Pending results of the outdoor tests, baits will be evaluated in field tests located in the Coachella Valley during year 2 with assistance from the Coachella Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (CVMVCD). The prevalence and spread of fire ant biocontrol agents (phorid flies and Solenopsis invicta virus-3), released by ARS & the CVMVCD in 2014 and 2015 will be determined by sampling a minimum of 15 nests per site. Samples will be collected once a year with the agents detected genetically and by field trapping.