Using Flies to Reduce Fire Ant Populations
In a previous article, we showed how “Chinese Wasps are Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer” as scientists in Michigan introduced wasps from Asia in order to control the invasive and damaging emerald ash borer (EAB). The tiny wasps lay eggs in or on the ash borer larvae, and when the eggs hatch the wasp larvae eat the EABs.
Now Larry Gilbert, the director of the University of Texas’ Brackenridge Field Laboratory, wonders if this same method of biological control can work on fire ants, except he would use tiny flies instead of wasps. The female phorid fly plants eggs inside the ant’s thorax, and when the larvae hatch they eat their way out.
This video shows the flies attacking the fire ants and laying their eggs:
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Forty Acres Field Guide: Red Imported Fire Ant