Digital Object Identifier / DOI
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Journal of Economic Entomology
Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), form mutualisms with hemipteran pests in crop systems. In vineyards, they feed on honeydew produced by mealybugs and soft scales, which they tend and protect from natural enemies. Few options for controlling Argentine ants are available; one of the more effective approaches is to use liquid baits containing a low dose of an insecticide. Knowledge of ant foraging patterns is required to estimate how many bait stations to deploy per unit area. To measure how far ants move liquid bait in vineyards, we placed bait stations containing sugar water and a protein marker in plots for 6 d, and then collected ants along transects extending away from bait stations. The ants moved an average of 16.08 m and 12.21 m from bait stations in the first and second years of the study, respectively. Marked ants were found up to 63 m from bait stations; however, proportions of marked ants decreased exponentially as distance from the bait station increased. Results indicate that Argentine ants generally forage at distancesvineyards, thus suggesting that insecticide bait stations must be deployed at intervals of 36 m or less to control ants. We found no effect of insecticide on distances that ants moved the liquid bait, but this may have been because bait station densities were too low to affect the high numbers of Argentine ants that were present at the study sites.
This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.