In the laboratory, Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), mortality was positively correlated to the length of an aromatic cedar mulch section that had to be crossed before food could be reached. When ants could access food without crossing the mulch, mortality was not correlated to mulch section length. In the field, Argentine ants showed a tendency to avoid aromatic cedar mulch as a nesting substrate. In plant beds alongside buildings the number of ant nests (pockets containing brood) found was not significantly different between aromatic cedar and cypress mulch. However, when pine straw mulch around oak trees was replaced with aromatic cedar or cypress mulch, a similar number of ant nests was found in the cypress mulch as in the original pine straw, whereas numbers in aromatic cedar mulch were significantly lower. Also, fewer ants were trailing on the trees surrounded by aromatic cedar mulch compared with cypress mulch or the original pine straw. The number of ants attracted to apple jelly baits placed alongside the buildings did not differ between mulch types; neither did the number of ant trails crossing the mulch beds around the buildings. We suggest that aromatic cedar mulch may help control Argentine ants and reduce insecticide input when applied in combination with conventional control methods.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3