Investigation of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, damage to peanut, Arachis hypogaea
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Laboratory studies determined that the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, was unable to penetrate peanut pods in order to reach the kernels. Kernels removed from the pods were acceptable food sources and ants were sustained over a 16-day period as long as access to water was available. Ants were unable to draw enough moisture from the pods, kernels or artificial diet to sustain themselves for more than a few days in the absence of supplemental water. Methoprene fire ant bait (Extinguish) reduced the number of foraging fire ants by 85-98% when applied to two peanut fields. However, there were no significant differences in yield, grade or value of peanuts in plots where fire ants numbers were reduced relative to untreated plots. Results of these studies indicated that red imported fire ants are unlikely to feed on and damage sound peanut pods. Damage to pods due to feeding by other insects or cracks in the pod due to plant stress (drought) may provide access by red imported fire ants which may then feed on the kernels.
author list (cited authors)
Mitchell, F. L., & Knutson, A. E.
complete list of authors
Mitchell, FL||Knutson, AE