Liquids and gels are common delivery forms used in commercial ant baits, but the relative effectiveness of each is unknown. We compared the feeding responses of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), to liquid and gel compositions of sucrose. In choice assays, more workers were counted on gel than liquid; however, substantially more liquid was consumed. Because workers could stand on the gel, more workers could feed simultaneously on the gel. The feeding bouts of individual workers, however, were much less efficient at extracting sucrose in gel form. Workers fed eightfold longer on the gel, yet removed fivefold less sucrose than workers feeding on liquid. This potential bias should be considered during attraction and palatability studies that use physically different bait compositions. When the toxicant fipronil was added to the compositions, a greater proportion of the colony died after workers had fed on liquid than gel baits. This finding suggests that liquid formulations may provide more effective control of Argentine ants due to the greater speed and abundance in which it is ingested.
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Vol. 94 • No. 2