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Research Project: Invasive Ant Biology and Control

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Title: Effect of soil treatments for cottony cushion scale, (Hemiptera: Monophlebidae) control on Nylanderia fulva (Hymenoptera: Formidicae) survival and trailing activity

Author
item Sharma, Shweta - University Of Florida
item Buss, Eileen - University Of Florida
item Hodges, Greg - Florida Department Of Agriculture
item Oi, David

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The tawny crazy ant, is an invasive ant from South America that is rapidly spreading in the southern U.S. Extremely large populations of this ant inundate urban and natural landscapes resulting in relentless trails of ants in and around buildings and reduced biodiversity. Research conducted under the auspices of the University of Florida, the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, determined that tawny crazy ant activity declined after controlling insects that produce honeydew, a sugary secretion that is an important food source of ants. There were fewer numbers of ant trails, lower trailing intensity, less foraging, and less ants nesting in potted plants where there were less honeydew producing insects on plants treated with systemic insecticide. Because efficient control methods are lacking for tawny crazy ants, reducing the availability of this ant’s food (honeydew), could be an important component of the integrated pest management of this invasive pest.

Technical Abstract: Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), or tawny crazy ant, is an invasive ant from South America that is rapidly spreading in the southern USA. Extremely large populations of this ant can inundate urban and natural landscapes and efficient control methods are lacking. This study was conducted to determine if activity of N. fulva would decline after controlling the hemipteran honeydew-producers they were tending. Potted plants infested with cottony cushion scale (Icerya purchasi Maskell; Hemiptera: Monophlebidae) were treated with two imidacloprid insecticide formulations and changes in N. fulva survival and foraging behavior were monitored. There were fewer numbers of ant trails, lower trailing intensity, less foraging, and less nesting in potted plants treated with either product than in the control pots. The use of low application rates of systemic insecticide to reduce honeydew producing hemipterans, such as cottony cushion scale, could be an important component of the integrated pest management of N. fulva.