Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2001
Publication Date: 12/20/2001
Citation: VOGT, J.T., SMITH, W.A., JONES, D.B., WRIGHT, R.E. FEASIBILITY OF DRAGGING PASTURES FOR CONTROL OF SOLENOPSIS INVICTA BUREN, THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT, IN OKLAHOMA. SOUTHWESTERN ENTOMOLOGIST. 2001. V. 26. P. 339-344. Interpretive Summary: Extension personnel in Oklahoma are frequently asked about the effectiveness of pasture dragging for control of red imported fire ants. We investigated the effects of pasture dragging prior to freezing weather on fire ant populations, and examined weather data for fire ant-infested parts of Oklahoma to determine whether dragging should be recommended. There was no difference before or after dragging in average mound density, height, or width between dragged and control plots. Soil temperatures in Oklahoma rarely fell below physiological limits of fire ants. We concluded that pasture dragging is not likely to be an effective means of controlling the ants.
Technical Abstract: Cultural control of Solenopsis invicta Buren, the red imported fire ant, was investigated by destroying mounds with a large (380 kg) angle iron drag prior to freezing weather. Mean mound density, and mound height and width, were statistically indistinguishable between dragged and control plots (P>0.05). Ambient temperature approached -3C the night following dragging. Ambient temperature near the study site fell to near or below S. invicta's lower critical thermal limit an average of 65.3 +-6.5(mean +-SD) days per year between January 1994 and October 2000. Soil temperature (10 cm below ground level) never fell below the supercooling point of S. invicta workers (ca.- 4 to - 6C). Data suggest that dragging pastures for control of S. invicta is not likely to be an effective means of control in southern Oklahoma.