Symposium: Insect Behavioral Ecology--'92: Ant Behavior and Microbal Pathogens (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

David H. Oi, Roberto M. Pereira


The effectiveness of microbial controls for pest ants can be reduced by ant behaviors. Introductions of pathogens, including nematodes, into ant nests result in behavioral responses by ants that affect infection rates to ants exposed to inocula, affect the dissemination of inocula among nestmates, and affect the dispersal of inocula outside the nest. These behaviors include grooming, secretion of antibiotics, nest hygiene, avoidance, and dispersal. Ant behaviors must be considered in developing microbial control agents. Approaches to overcoming the behavioral responses of the red imported fire ant to the entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin are discussed.

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