Virtual Baiting To Control Ants in Sensitive Urban Environments
  Key Words  
  Fipronil, Argentine ants, necrophoresis, horizontal transfer, California least tern
  Michael K. Rust, Dong-hwan Choe, and Richard S. Vetter
  Invasive ants present a serious threat to humans, wildlife and sensitive environmental habitats. The nature of these sensitive sites such as schools, nursing homes, parks, and zoos prevent the widespread application of insecticides to control ants and encourage alternative strategies. The presence of endangered seabirds and the site’s proximity to the ocean prohibited conventional ant pest control strategies. A virtual bait station was developed and tested against Argentine ants, (Mayr), at a seabird nesting site along the California coast. The insides of PVC pipes were treated with 6.7 and 8.3 µg/cm2 fipronil. The PVC pipes were capped and buried in the sand. Foragers crossed the treated barriers to consume sucrose water and were killed within 3-5 days after exposure. The delayed toxicity allowed ants to continue foraging on the sugar and interact with nestmates. There was a significant reduction in the number of ants at the site within 22 weeks.