The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is an important pest in the southern United States, in part because few natural enemies exist. Beauveria bassiana is an entomopathogenic fungus that holds great promise as a biological control agent against S. invicta. In previous studies, B. bassiana was effective in laboratory trials, but field applications were less effective. In the current study, we compared the efficacy of different application methods of B. bassiana mycelia encapsulated in alginate pellets against S. invicta in heavily infested areas. Direct insertion of pellets into S. invicta mounds caused some reduction in activity rating. However, observations of ants removing pellets from mounds shortly after insertion led to the development of a bait system to encourage pellet retention in the mounds. Broadcast applications and individual mound treatments of B. bassiana alginate pellets coated with peanut oil reduced activity ratings of S. invicta populations.
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