American Entomologist (2008) 54, 46-55

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David H. Oi, David F. Williams, Roberto M. Pereira, Paul 'Mac' Horton, Tim S. Davis, Alison H. Hyder, Herbert T. Bolton, Brian C. Zeichner, Sanford D. Porter, Lynn A. Hoch, Malcolm L. Boswell and Glenn Williams (2008)
Combining biological and chemical controls for the management of red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
American Entomologist 54 (1), 46-55
Abstract: Two South American natural enemies of imported fire ants were first detected or released in the United States approximately 10 years ago. The fire ant pathogen, Thelohania solenopsae Knell, Allen, and Hazard, was found in the U.S. in 1996 and a parasitic phorid fly from Brazil, Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, was released in 1997 and both are well established in fire ant infested areas. As biological control agents of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, their colony-level impact in the field is often indirect and subtle as they work slowly by debilitating queens and impeding foraging by workers. Their effect on colony densities may be inadequate in sensitive sites, where people have a low tolerance for fire ant stings, and where control may require faster-acting insecticide treatments. Comparisons of S. invicta populations and the presence of other ants were made among field sites that 1) were treated with insecticide containing fipronil and where the biocontrol agents T. solenopsae and P. tricuspis were also released and established (integrated site); 2) were treated only with the fipronil insecticide (chemical site); and, 3) were not treated (untreated site). S. invicta populations were suppressed by >95% for 3 years at the integrated site. In the chemical site, S. invicta control was <85% after 1.4 years, while the untreated site had an average 32% increase in population. Average prevalence of T. solenopsae among nests per plot peaked at 72% and P. tricuspis was observed at the release site and up to 5 km away. The average percentage of ants other than S. invicta collected in pitfall traps in the insecticide-treated area of the integrated site increased from 13% before treatment to 70% for the last 2 years of the study. In the chemical site, the percentage of non-S. invicta ants was 0.4% before insecticide application and averaged 9% for the final 2 years. Non-S. invicta ants averaged 9.6% (range, 2.7-17.3%) in the untreated site for the entire study. The extended reduction in S. invicta populations in the integrated site demonstrated a potential impact of the establishment of biological control agents for imported fire ants.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Roberto M. Pereira, Sanford D. Porter, David H. Oi

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
control - general
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
classical biocontrol/new introduction


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Solenopsis invicta U.S.A. (SE)
Pseudacteon tricuspis (parasitoid) Solenopsis invicta U.S.A. (SE)
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta U.S.A. (SE)