Ant Restaurant: Fire Ant Attraction to Varying Food Groups
Solenopsis invicta or the red imported fire ant is a well known and common pest in Texas. They can be seen in many different grassy habitats and affect both people and animals. Their most distinctive feature is the red head and thorax and black abdomen. Due the aggressiveness of this species of fire ant, it is often very sought after how to get rid of them, especially when they invade homes. It is often annoying to see ants all over any type of food that is left outside. However, this can be used as an advantage to get rid of them. Baiting is a very affective technique; it is just important to know what attracts them the most. This experiment tests 8 different foods, with differing carbohydrate, protein and lipid contents to see which are the most attractive to ants. Three different “plates” will act as three different trials and the number of ants of each food on each plate will be counted. A system of how ants are counted is also specified to make sure they don’t get counted twice. Finally, based on these results, inferences on which baits would be the most effective can be discussed. In addition, the contents an ideal bait can also be explained as well, leading to further research on Solenopsis invicta baiting techniques.
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