Submitted to: Experiment Station Bulletins
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/19/2006
Publication Date: 9/6/2006
Citation: Drees, B.M., Vinson, B., Gold, R.E., Merchant, M.E., Brown, E., Engler, K., Keck, M., Nester, P., Kostroun, D., Flanders, K., Graham, F., Pollet, D., Hooper-Bui, L., Beckley, P., Horton, P.M., Davis, T., Gardner, W., Loftin, K., Vail, K., Wright, R., Smith, W., Thompson, D.C., Kabashima, J., Blake, L., Koehler, P., Oi, D.H., Callcott, A. 2006. Managing imported fire ants in urban areas. B-6043, Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, College Station TX 22 pp. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The two species of imported fire ants (red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, and black imported fire ant, Solenopsis richteri) and their sexually reproducing hybrid are invasive insects whose stings can cause serious medical problems. Imported fire ants interfere with outdoor activities and harm wildlife throughout the southern United States. Ant mounds are unsightly and may reduce land values. Although fire ants do prey on flea larvae, chinch bugs, cockroach eggs, ticks and other pests, the problems they cause usually outweigh any benefits in urban areas. While it may not be possible to eradicate these species in large areas of infestation, the best control programs use a combination of non-chemical and chemical methods that are effective, economical and least harmful to the environment. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a systems approach to managing insect, mite, disease and weed pests. It uses of a combination of the most compatible and ecologically sound pest suppression tactics to keep pest populations below levels that cause problems. IPM uses cultural, biological and chemical methods. This bulletin describes site-specific, goal-oriented management programs for urban sites where fire ants occur and are a pest. The goal of IPM of fire ants is to prevent or eliminate problems caused by unacceptably high numbers of fire ants, rather than elimination of all ants from the ecosystem.