Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Entomology

Advisor

Zungoli, Patricia A

Committee Member

Benson , Eric P

Committee Member

Gerard , Patrick D

Abstract

Pachycondyla chinensis (Emery), commonly known as the Asian needle ant is a well-established invasive species in urban and woodland areas in South Carolina. Foraging ants are found around or under places such as sidewalks, flowerbeds, mulch, tree bases, stones, and logs where human outdoor activity takes place in urbanized area. It is not an aggressive ant, but it has a powerful sting that causes severe allergic reactions in some people. It also has a negative impact on native ant species in forest environments. Food preference was studied, followed by an evaluation of selected bait products against P. chinensis.
Protein, carbohydrate, lipid, and control diets were tested with P. chinensis in the laboratory and field. In the laboratory, P. chinensis showed no significant preference to any of the food choices. In the field, during the early stages of population growth (late May and early June), the ants showed no significant preference for carbohydrate, lipid, or protein, but visited protein significantly more frequently than plain agar (control), which was the food matrix. When the worker population and swarming activity were higher in late summer (July and August), P. chinensis showed a preference for protein over carbohydrate, lipid, and plain agar. These data provided a basis for selection of bait products for efficacy trials.
Seven bait products were chosen to evaluate their effectiveness against P. chinensis. In the laboratory, a choice/no choice study was conducted. Advion® fire ant bait, Advance®, and Maxforce® complete achieved 100% mortality in less than one week. Advion® gel reached approximately 90% mortality and was not significantly different from those reaching 100% mortality after 14 days. When a choice of a natural food source was offered, Optigard® was less effective than in the no choice test, the latter was not significantly different from Advion® gel. Optigard® was not significantly different from Maxforce® quantum in the choice test, while Maxforce® quantum achieved a mortality of 40%. Advion® granule was the least effective bait in both choice and no-choice tests and was not significantly different from control when a choice was available.
Evaluation of bait products in the field was conducted in urban areas where active foraging ants and potential nesting sites were located. Statistically, there were significant differences between treatments in the mean percentage of P. chinensis population change in week 1 only. Overall, Advion® gel was the only bait resulting in reduced a field population over 10 weeks. Advion® fire ant bait achieved 70% reduction in the field population during the first three weeks and reduced populations after reapplication in week 7. Advance® was effective in the first seven weeks and had no effect on population reduction in the last three weeks even after reapplication. In the field, Maxforce® complete was not as effective as in the laboratory. The field population increased during most weeks of the study. Optigard® and Maxforce® quantum had similar trends in population change over 10 weeks. The population increased during weeks when there was an increase at control sites, and decreased in weeks when there was a decrease in the P. chinensis population at control sites.

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Entomology Commons

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