Seasonal Changes in Bait Preference by Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis Invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Martin B. Stein, Harlan G. Thorvilson, James W. Johnson


Bait stations were established in four different vegetational habitats near Houston, Texas, to attract Solenopsis invicta Buren, the red imported fire ant (RIFA). Bait preferences were compared in each habitat for each monthly 24-h sampling period. Foragers located both the high carbohydrate and high protein baits, but greater numbers were recruited to the carbohydrate bait during the sampling periods of the year registering lower temperatures (mean = 17@*C). In contrast, when the seasonal temperatures were greater (mean = 25@%C), RIFA's were collected in higher numbers on the proteinaceous bait. These findings must be considered when planning a field research project to collect RIFA's.

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