Project Number: 6036-32000-051-016-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Nov 30, 2021
To prevent the spread of imported fire ants in the USA by improving treatments used to maintain the Federal Imported Fire Ant Quarantine.
1) Develop method(s) that consistently disinfest imported fire ants (IFA) from ball and burlap (B&B) root balls of field harvested nursery stock by determining whether IFA colonies that reside in B&B root balls can be eliminated with novel bait formulations such as hydrogel and paste bait carriers. 2) Improve the efficacy of commercial IFA baits that are exposed to moisture/irrigation. Because moisture degrades bait formulations the efficacy of a water-resistant fire ant bait and a standard commercial fire ant bait, both exposed to irrigation, will be compared on IFA colonies. 3) Improve IFA treatment methods of B&B nursery stock in collaboration with the Tennessee State University, Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center (TSU). ARS will conduct IFA alate bioassays of TSU post-harvest drench and injection trials on large B&B root balls, which are difficult to disinfest of IFA. Soil extracted from the treated root balls will be tested by ARS in laboratory bioassays that use female IFA reproductives, which can start colonies in root balls.