Title page for ETD etd-09202010-152013

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Allen, Hamilton Ross
URN etd-09202010-152013
Title Distribution and Management of the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, in Virginia
Degree Master of Science In the Life Sciences
Department Entomology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miller, Dini M. Committee Chair
Brewster, Carlyle C. Committee Member
Fell, Richard D. Committee Member
  • fire ants
  • broadcast control methods
  • Virginia
Date of Defense 2010-09-06
Availability unrestricted
Red imported fire ant specimens were first collected in Virginia in 1989 from colonies located in Hampton, Va. Now colonies are established throughout the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Because the fire ant is a new pest information regarding the distribution, biology, and management of the ant in Virgnia are absent. Therefore studies were conducted to compare the efficacies of four broadcast fire ant control products and an individual mound treatment to control fire ants and to determine the impact of Advion and Top Choice on non-target ant species. Additionally, twenty-six fire ant colonies in Virginia were sampled to determine colony social form and to detect biological control organisms. Lastly, the CLIMEX model was used to predict the potential spread of the fire ant in Virginia.

Field trials showed that combination applications of Advion and Top Choice provided the fastest and greatest reduction in foraging three days after treatment and the longest residual control of fire ant colonies for one year. Field tests documenting the impacts of Advion and Top Choice on non-target ants indicate treatments do supress ant foraging but ant populations will rebound 10-12 months after treatment.

Laboratory PCR assays revealed that colonies in Virginia are primarily polygyne. Also, Kneallhazia solenopsae, Pseudaction spp. parasitoid decapitating phorid flies, and Solenopsis invicta virues (SINV) genetic materials were detected in fire ant samples. CLIMEX model results indicate that fire ants will be able to spread as far east as the Greater Richmond area and as far north as Alexandria in Virginia.

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