Foraging by Red Imported Fire Ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera; Formicidae) onTurfgrasses

James A. Reinert, Joe E. McCoy


Red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera; Formicidae) is a major pest in urban landscapes including residential/commercial lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks, and highway rights-of-way. Foraging preferences for various turfgrass clippings were investigated under controlled lab conditions. Among bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) cultivars, clippings of ‘Tifway’ and ‘Baby’ were 7 times more preferred than clippings of ‘Tifton 10’ and ‘GN1’. The Texas bluegrass × Kentucky bluegrass hybrid (Poa pratensis L. × P. arachnifera Torr.), TXKY 00-34-2 had 5 times more foraging ants on it than TXKY 01-59-9. Among the zoysiagrasses (Zoysia japonica), ‘El Toro’ was only 2 times more preferred than ‘Crowne’. For St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum Walt. Kuntze), ‘BitterBlue’ was 3.4 times more preferred than ‘Floratam’. On the buffalograss cultivars (Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.), there were 2 and 4 times more ants foraging ‘Texoka’ than either ‘Prairie’ or ‘Bison’, respectively. After foraging for 5 h on clippings of the 5 or 6 cultivars in each replicate, the number of ants on each grass was bermudagrass (169.3) > zoysiagrass (137.5) = bluegrass hybrids (136.8) > St. Augustinegrass (127.1) > buffalograss (34.5).

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