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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #165281

Title: STIMULATION OF BLACK FIRE ANTS (SOLENOPSIS RICHTERI FOREL) USING SUBSTRATE-BORNE VIBRATIONS AND THE EFFECTS ON TEH PARASITISM OF HOST ANTS BY ATTACKING PHORID FILES (PSEUDACTEON CURVATUS BORGMEIER)

Author
item MWANGI, ESTHER
item HASSE, ROGER
item LAGO, PAUL
item BUCHHOLZ, RICHARD
item Streett, Douglas

Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2004
Publication Date: 7/20/2004
Citation: Mwangi, E., Hasse, R., Lago, P., Buchholz, R., Streett, D.A. 2004. Stimulation of black fire ants (solenopsis richteri forel) using substrate-borne vibrations and the effects on teh parasitism of host ants by attacking phorid files (pseudacteon curvatus borgmeier). Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings. p. 59-65.

Interpretive Summary: Phorid flies are a biological control agent that kills fire ants. These flies are mass reared for biological control programs using fire ants as hosts. Substrate-borne vibrations were used to expose fire ants to phorid fly attack and increase phorid fly production in our mass rearing program. Improvements in phorid fly mass rearing will allow us to release more flies and reduce the problems associated with imported fire ants.

Technical Abstract: The Black Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis richteri Forel) is a serious pest species in the southern United States. This work is a multi-part study focusing on the effect of substrate-borne vibrations on the behavioral responses of fire ants. Part I of the research involved stimulation of individual black imported fire ants and the subsequent visual observations of their leg movements in response to the applied stimuli. Fire ants are clearly sensitive to substrate vibrations and they sense the surface accelerations and/or displacements in the frequency range of 42 Hz to 3.1 kHz.. Part II of the study evaluated the effect of these frequencies and corresponding substrate displacements on fire ant workers in experimental arenas. . In response to the substrate vibrations fire ants relocate to regions of low or no disturbance. Finally, Part III of the study involved the introduction of substrate-borne vibrations to containers of fire ants in the presence of attacking phorid flies (Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier) in an attempt to enhance the parasitism of host fire ants. Exposing ants to substrate vibrations while in the presence of predatory phorid flies is one potential method for improving their mass-production.