Linepithema humile (Mayr), the Argentine ant, is an invasive pest that has spread throughout the United States and is a problem in natural and managed habitats in South Carolina. Foraging patterns and the effectiveness of liquid baits for control of this pest have been studied in urban areas. However, similar studies have not been conducted in natural areas such as parks, picnic grounds, or campsites. L. humile populations can be large and widespread, making them a major nuisance pest for visitors to these natural areas. The primary objective of this study was to determine an effective distance between bait stations for control of L. humile in a natural area. A double antibody-sandwich enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) procedure was used to detect individual ants that consumed rabbit immunoglobin (IgG) protein for marking and tracking. In both lab and field conditions, there was a significant difference in the detection of IgG in ants fed protein marker mixed with sugar water compared with ants only fed sugar water. Additional field studies revealed that an individual ant could retain detectable levels of protein marker for 3 d and that an ant feeding on IgG containing bait could be detected over 15 m from the original bait source. Overall, we found that using liquid ant baits, with a placement of 20 m between stations, was effective in reducing L. humile numbers between April to October, 2012 in a natural park area of Lake Greenwood State Park, SC.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4