Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #153891


item Vogt, James
item Streett, Douglas

Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2003
Publication Date: 9/20/2003
Citation: Vogt, J.T., Streett, D.A. Establishment of pseudacteon curvatus borgmeier in mississippi. Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings: 58. 2003

Interpretive Summary: Imported fire ants are serious pests in the U.S., where they were accidentally introduced from South America prior to 1940 without natural enemies. As a result, fire ant populations here are some 4-7 times higher than in South America. One natural enemy, the parasitic phorid fly Pseudacteon curvatus, was released in northern Mississippi as a biological control agent for imported fire ants. Flies were recovered the following year, more than 1 mile from the release site. This represents the first successful release of P. curvatus in Mississippi. The rapid establishment of phorid flies in northern Mississippi will allow researchers to assess their impact on fire ant behavior and population density. As the flies expand their range, exerting pressure on fire ant populations, they will benefit the general public wherever fire ants are a problem.

Technical Abstract: Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier, a dipteran parasitoid of imported fire ants, was released at two sites in northeastern Mississippi (Clay County; Knox site and Prima site) as part of the Areawide Suppression of Fire Ants Program. Field-collected ants were exposed to phorid fly attack in the laboratory for 1 wk (50 adult flies / colony / day) then returned to their original mounds in the field. Colonies (N = 24 for Knox, N = 20 for Prima) were collected, exposed to ovipositing flies, and released in May-Jun at Knox and Aug-Sep at Prima. To monitor for flies in the field, trays [27.5 cm wide (23.5 cm inner) X 41.75 cm long (38.25 cm inner) X 12 cm deep] (N = 10) were placed on the ground with about 1 g of worker ants in each, and observed periodically for ovipositing flies. In summer and fall of 2002 field-reared flies were recovered at Knox up to 600 m from the release area. Field-reared flies were recovered at Knox in spring 2003 as far as 2 km from the release area, confirming that the population had overwintered and continued to spread. In extensive sampling at Prima in 2003, no ovipositing flies were recovered and a second release has since been conducted (May 2003).