Argentine ants, Linepithema humile (Mayr), use mass recruitment foraging, with clumped prey items being retrieved more efficiently than dispersed prey. However, in prior field experiments, granular baits, whether dispensed in containers or broadly scattered, had a similar impact on Argentine ant populations. In laboratory experiments, granular insecticide bait was encountered faster by Argentine ant workers and more granules were initially returned to the colony when the granules were scattered versus clumped. After 2 h, granules from both dispersion patterns were retrieved equally. Our results suggest that Argentine ant colonies adjust their foraging patterns to resources of different quality (prey versus bait). Also, foraging activity patterns for bait in the laboratory are consistent with prior field results demonstrating no efficacy advantages to discrete granular bait placements.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3