Imported Fire Ant Survey

Grants and Contracts Details


Fire ant mounds are periodically detected in western Kentucky. There have been several detection and eradication events in Calloway County in and around the city of Murray and, more recently, in a national recreation area and a state park in Trigg County. All infestations found to date have been eradicated. The most recent finds are described below: In November 2012, suspect fire ant mounds were detected by a homeowner in Calloway County, Kentucky in the town of New Concord. The homeowner contacted the county agent who contacted our office. We took samples and the suspects were identified as Solenopsis invicta Buren by a USDA identifier on December 3, 2012. We treated the mounds, surveyed the area for several years following the treatment, and the infestation is eradicated. In July 2013, federal personnel from Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area (Trigg County) informed an extension entomologist in our department, Dr. Ric Bessin, that fire ant mounds had been detected. Dr. Bessin took a sample which we submitted for USDA identification. The suspects were identified as Solenopsis richteri Forel by a USDA identifier on September 6, 2013. The mound was treated and declared eradicated after subsequent surveys of the area. On a scouting trip from October 22 - 24, 2014, Office of the State Entomologist personnel found a fire ant mound in Lake Barkley State Park in Trigg County. Samples were sent to Mississippi Entomological Museum for identification and we received a positive identification that they were fire ants, although they couldn't determine whether they were black imported fire ants or the hybrid. We treated the mound and eradicated fire ants from the area based on subsequent surveys. We treated 2 mounds found by LBL personnel in 2015. On May 13, 2015, we received an email from LBL personnel that they had located an active mound on the same off ramp where IFA had been found in 2013 (but not the exact same location). We treated the mound on May 19 and 20, 2015. We also collected ants and sent them to Mississippi State University for identification. Based on the condition of the sample and the continuum of hybridness in IFA, the identifier could not be positive, but strongly suspected S. richteri. On July 28, 2015, LBL informed us that they had found another positive IFA mound. An extension entomologist in our department had already planned a trip to LBL, so he treated the mound on August 1 and 2, 2015. He also took a sample which the SSC prepared according to protocol so that Mississippi State University personnel could perform cuticular hydrocarbon analysis for a definitive identification. The ants were identified as S. richteri. The mounds have been eradicated, although we continue to survey the area as part of this project. These western Kentucky sites are approximately a 500-mile round trip away from our office (the Office of the State Entomologist at the University of Kentucky) in Lexington, Kentucky and many more miles are needed to travel extensively for scouting; therefore, we need funding to cover personnel costs and travel to these far western sites in order to conduct thorough surveys in 2017 and early 2018.
Effective start/end date6/1/175/31/18


  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: $3,783.00


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