The Effect of Temperature on Ants and their Foraging Habits in Central Texas.


  • Prathik Patel Texas A&M University


The Imported Red Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta is not only a painful nuisance to your sunday picnic but also of great importance to medical professionals and those with allergies associated with its painful bite. This study is aimed at providing information about S. invicta and their foraging habits in different temperatures in order to better control them in the College Station area. In order to collect data, six traps were placed next to ant piles throughout a grassy field indigenous to S. invicta over a period of about three weeks. These traps were baited with hot dog meat and set for a period of approximately 2 hours at the hottest time of day (2 P.M. - 4 P.M.) then collected and the ants were counted. This was done twice per week over the three week period. The resulting data showed that there was some correlation between temperature and amount of ants foraging, higher temperature related to higher amount of ants accounted for. Discrepancies in this trend were addressed by assessing additional climatic variables which may have caused interference, and a relationship was established between ant foraging behavior and mean wind speed. The size of the ant hills provided another clue into the number of ants found in each trap. The larger the ant bed the trap was placed to, the larger amount of ants were found foraging for food.