We evaluated the effects of interspecific competition on ant bait performance with two urban pest ants, the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), and the little black ant, Monomorium minimum (Buckley). In a laboratory study, the impact of a solid sulfluramid bait on M. minimum was diminished when L. humile were present, whereas the presence of M. minimum reduced the performance of a liquid fipronil bait against L. humile. Argentine ants were not adversely affected by sulfluramid bait at any time, whereas M. minimum was unaffected by fipronil bait until 14 d of exposure. In field studies measuring diel foraging activity, M. minimum seemed to delay L. humile foraging to food stations by ≈30 min during summer 2001. However, L. humile subsequently recruited to food stations in very high numbers, thereby displacing M. minimum. L. humile visited food stations over an entire 24-h period, whereas M. minimum was only observed visiting food stations during daylight hours. Adjusting the timing of bait placement in the field may minimize any negative effects of interspecific competition between these two species on toxic bait performance.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2