Solenopsis invicta, the Red Imported Fire Ant, was brought over on ship cargo by accident from Central Brazil between 1933 and 1945 (Sullivan, 2003). Since then, it has become one of the most hated nonnative pests in the Southern region of North America. RIFA thrive in open, sunny areas such as lawns and pastures. Anywhere the ground is consistent and disturbed. Few colonies are found in secluded and quiet areas such as swamps or forests. They have been found as far north as Virginia, but are not expected to disperse farther north because they are unable to tolerate the cold climate. However, Red Imported Fire Ants can colonize in other areas where temperatures are over 10?F, and the average rainfall is greater than 10 inches per year. Areas that are irrigated can also be colonized even if there is insufficient rainfall (University of Florida, 2003).The diet of Red Imported Fire Ants is very diverse. It consists of things such as dead animals, insects included, earthworms, and vertebrates.
[...] The general consensus to what was learned in the first trial is that diatomaceous earth is an effective barrier against the Red Imported Fire Ant. From the results we found, we concluded that we had used too much diatomaceous earth for the ants to be able to survive, and that is why their deaths were so quick. The cause of death for the control group remains unknown because the control group did not have any diatomaceous earth in their habitat or any other noxious substances. [...]
[...] The ants on the diatomaceous earth side of groups A1 and A2 were caked in diatomaceous earth particles and noticeably staggered. We believed that is was difficult for them to walk on the diatomaceous earth, similar to humans walking in deep sand. Within a couple hours' time we observed dead bodies. On the first day, there was minimal activity. Four ants were seen by the honey water cotton ball, and one ant was seen on the water cotton ball in the control group. [...]
[...] We wanted to observe Red Imported Fire Ants in the presence of diatomaceous earth alone to see if and how the ants' behavior would be affected by the presence of the diatomaceous earth. We set up seven experimental groups. Each group except for the control group had a diatomaceous earth barrier between their colony and their food source. We expected to find that while many of the ants would die in the pursuit of food, eventually they would find or create a way around the diatomaceous earth barrier to get to the food source. [...]
[...] Furthermore, the use of insecticides in the war against the Red Imported Fire Ant has aided in the demise of native species. The thriving success of the Red Imported Fire Ant in North America can be attributed to the lack of natural predators. In Brazil, the population of Red Imported Fire Ants is 10% of what the population is in North America. In Brazil, Red Imported Fire Ants are attacked by several species of flies in the Phoridae family. Although there are native Phoridae flies in North America, these species do not attack RIFA. [...]
[...] The IPM Practitioner: Monitoring the Field of Pest Management Volume XIV (Issue Number 5/6). May/June. Collins, L. and Scheffrahn, R.H. (2008). Featured Creatures (Publication Number: EENY-195). Retrieved from the Web September http://creastures.ifas.ufl.edu/urban/ants/red_imported_fire_ants.htm Brown, W Efficacy of Diatomaceous Earth in Killing Red Imported Fire Ants in a Controlled Environment. Texas AgriLife Extension Service: Texas A&M University. Brinkman, M.A., and Gardner, W.A of Diatomaceous Earth and Entomopathogen Combinations Against the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)”. Florida Entomologist. 2001; 740 741. USDA-ARS United States Department of Agriculture [...]
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