Submitted to: Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/22/2005
Publication Date: 5/22/2005
Citation: Chen, J., Wei, X. An Improved Method for Fast and Efficient Fire Ant Colony Separation. Imported Fire Ants Conference Proceedings. 2005. Interpretive Summary: Fire ants are one of the most important pests in the United States. It has been estimated that residential households in the United States spend $3.4 billion/year in controlling fire ants. Research requires a fast and efficient method to separate ants from mound soil and to extract brood from colonies. A fast modified colony separation method and a new easy-to-perform brood extraction method were developed. This new technique will facilitate the research and development of fire ant management programs.
Technical Abstract: Substantial amount of brood was observed in the soil after using the standard water drip method for fire ant colony separation. A new procedure was developed to collect the brood that was not rescued by fire ant workers during the dripping process. Brood was collected by manually stirring the dirt submerged in the water, scooping out the floating brood, and using fire ant workers to separate brood from debris. Our improvement in fire ant colony separation consists of three steps: 1) increase the water dripping rate to around 300 drops per minute for faster colony separation from the soil; 2) recovery of the un-rescued brood in the soil if so desired; and 3) rapid separation of brood from colony by the use of a repellant. This improved method resulted in significantly faster colony separation and significantly more brood recovery.