Response of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis Invicta Buren) to electricity and magnetism
Slowik, Ted J.
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The phenomenon of red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren; Hymenoptera: Formicidae) attraction to electricity and electrical equipment has recently come under scrutiny because of an increasing economic impact (MacKay et al. 1989). Researchers have focused on elucidating the reasons behind ant accumulation in active circuitry and electrical apparatuses in an effort to prevent the resulting ant damage. The results of the research suggested that the electric fields generated in and by the equipment attract ants (MacKay et al. 1989, 1992a, 1992b). However, experimentation has also shown that ant contact with bare, active conductive material (MacKay 1992b) is essential in eliciting the characteristic response to the electricity, suggesting another interaction between ants and electrical current. Taken together, these recent findings about this ant behavior do not clarify, identify, or define the sole cause or interacting factors which cause the attraction of ants to electricity. Therefore, an examination of the importance of electric fields and electric current in generating ant response to active circuitry and an observation of ant behaviors at the electrical site will be conducted in Study One of this thesis