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Research Project: Management of Fire Ants and Other Invasive Ants

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Title: Seasonal prevalence of queens and males in colonies of tawny crazy ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Florida

Author
item Oi, David

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The tawny crazy ant is an invasive ant from South America with overwhelming populations that invade structures and overrun landscapes. To contribute to the development of biologically based control strategies for this ant, the seasonal occurrence of queens, males, and brood within tawny crazy ant colonies was determined from monthly collections of nests in north central Florida. The average number of queens per colony were significantly higher in the winter and spring, than in the summer and fall. The number of males collected in the fall and winter were significantly higher than the other two seasons. Finally, brood was most prevalent in the spring and fall and significantly greater than the brood collected in winter. The seasonal fluctuations in levels of queens, males, and brood reflect the ants' consolidating in the winter into larger, permanent nest sites. While in the summer, the large colonies of winter disperse as smaller colonies into transient nest sites located throughout landscapes. Understanding the seasonal dispersal and consolidation of tawny crazy ant colonies will contribute to the development of control strategies for this invasive ant.

Technical Abstract: The tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is an invasive ant from South America with overwhelming populations that invade structures and overrun landscapes. To contribute to the development of biologically based control strategies for this ant, the seasonal prevalence of queens, males, and brood within colonies of N. fulva was determined from monthly collections of colonies located in north central Florida. The average number of queens per colony was significantly higher in the winter and spring, than in the summer and fall. The fall and winter male counts were significantly higher than the other two seasons. Brood was most prevalent in the spring and fall and significantly greater than the brood collected in winter. The seasonal fluctuations in levels of queens, males, and brood reflect the winter coalescing of colonies into larger, permanent nest sites, and the summer dispersal of smaller colonies into transient nest sites located throughout landscapes.