Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Entomology

Advisor

Benson, Eric P

Committee Member

Zungoli , Patricia A

Committee Member

Bridges , William C

Abstract

Linepithema humile (Mayr), the Argentine ant, is known as a pest in many urban areas of the southeastern United States. In the Piedmont region of South Carolina, there is a documented problem with L. humile invading the campsites of state park campgrounds. While some parks have tried to implement proactive control programs, the most widely used tactic is spraying insecticides when L. humile populations become intolerable to visitors. Although park personnel are treating problem areas with liquid insecticide, park visitors also treat their campsites with insecticidal products, as well as products not labeled for ant control.
Surveys in 2008 showed that over 65% of campers, at three selected state parks, were planning to return despite L. humile infestations. However, between 19 and 33%, depending on the park, stated they were hesitant to use the campgrounds again. Through complaint logs maintained by park personnel, as well as surveys conducted in the field, it was found that over 50% of all campers were personally treating their campsites for L. humile. These findings and personal observations indicated a need to develop educational materials to inform park visitors about techniques for reducing L. humile infestations around their campsites. An educational brochure providing answers to the most common camper questions and tips for controlling L. humile was produced for distribution in campgrounds where L. humile infestations were known.
Through monitoring L. humile between July and October of 2007, it was found that L. humile activity remained relatively constant until a decline in October. It was also found that L. humile populations stay in the same general area, and typically maintained foraging trails on the same trees throughout the camping season. Because L. humile populations remaining in the same areas allowed for targeted insecticidal treatments.
A series of four trials were conducted evaluating insecticidal spray treatments versus a combination of insecticidal spray and granular baits. Control areas were set up to evaluate the change in ants over the progression of a season without chemical interference. A bait (Niban¨ Granular Bait; orthoboric acid) and three insecticide sprays (Premise¨ 2; imidacloprid, TempridTM SC; § - cyfluthrin and imidacloprid, and Tempo¨ Ultra SC; § - cyfluthrin) were evaluated to determine the best option in a park setting. Overall, granular bait did not perform as well as the spray insecticides for L. humile control. In general, treatment with Tempo¨ Ultra SC provided the best and most cost effective control. Future research is needed to assess different methods and timing for control of L. humile in campground environments.

Included in

Entomology Commons

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