Horizontal transfer of three contact insecticides, bifenthrin, β-cyfluthrin, and fipronil, was tested in laboratory colonies. Donor ants were exposed for 1 min to insecticide-treated sand substrates and placed with unexposed ant colonies at two different temperatures. Mortality was monitored to compare the ability of donors to transfer lethal doses of these insecticides to untreated individuals. Treated donor insects, live or dead, were added into colonies to determine the importance of donor behavior on lethal transfer. Fipronil was readily transferable between individuals, resulting in high mortality rates. Bifenthrin and β-cyfluthrin were less transferable, exhibiting moderate-to-low mortality rates similar to the controls. Greater mortality occurred at 27–29°C than at 21–23°C for bifenthrin, but not the other treatments or controls. Colony mortality did not significantly increase when adding live donors, suggesting that necrophoresis was probably an important donor behavior in addition to grooming and trophallaxis on horizontal transfer.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5