Pest Management Solutions -- Texas Tech University

Beauveria bassiana as a Biocontrol Agent Against the Red Imported Fire Ant

Principal Investigators:
Harlan Thorvilson 
Dept. of Plant and Soil Science 
Texas Tech University 
Lubbock, TX 79409 
Phone: 806/742-2828; Fax 806/742-1898 

Michael San Francisco
Dept. of Biological Science
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX 79409
Phone: 806/742-2715; Fax 806/742-2963

Funding Amount/2 Years: $170,000

Relevance/Implication of Project: 
Populations of the red imported fire ant are difficult to control, and chemical control measures are non-selective and often
adversely affect non-target arthropods. Our strain and formulation of Beauveria bassiana (Fungi: Deuteromycotina)
cause RIFA mortality in laboratory and field trials. Effective delivery systems and augmented fungal activity are foci of
the proposed research. The long-term benefit will be to reduce RIFA populations using a biological control agent and,
hence, to reduce RIFA establishment and spread.

Summary of Work to be Done:
The primary objectives of the research are: To expand field application trials of B. bassiana mycelia in alginated matrix at
RIFA-infested sites. Independent efficacy trials will be completed at several sites in the southeastern U.S.A. To
genetically mark our strain of B. bassiana for rapid detection of the fungus within dead insects.