1365 Resource discovery and dominance as a tool for the management of Solenopsis invicta Buren

Wednesday, December 15, 2010: 10:05 AM
Royal Palm, Salon 1 (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Natalie T. Cervantes , Entomology, Texas A&M University, San Antonio, TX
Molly Keck , Entomology, Texas A&M University, San Antonio, TX
Bart Drees , Dept. of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Alejandro A. Calixto , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Management of invasive ants traditionally involves the use of insecticide baits. These are detected by ant workers as food and returned to the colony where larvae, other workers and queen(s) are fed. The introduced pesticide causes death of the colony. These baits, however, are non-selective and several ant species may be exposed to the pesticide. One common behavioral feature among many invasive ants is the ability to quickly recruit and dominate resources. We exploited this ability and developed a protocol for the selective removal of Solenopsis invicta Buren. This preliminary study was conducted karst features in Central Texas where S. invicta presents a problem for endangered karst arthropods and for native ant species, where insecticide bait treatments are not permitted. The method consisted of luring the ants using “hot dogs” and switching those with a significant number of S. invicta workers (an average of 30 ants across 17 hot dogs) with an insecticide bait station (we called this method “lure-switch-bait (LSB)). We compared this method to removal of S. invicta colonies using boiling water and used respective controls. Experimental units (karst features) were monitored using colony counts and lures. Preliminary results indicate the LSB method significantly reduces colony and ant workers relative abundance and performed better compared to the boiling water treatment. The results of this prophylactic method are presented as an alternative for the management of invasive ants especially in sensitive areas where toxic baits are not encouraged.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.52749