This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Red Imported Fire Ant Influences on White Grub Populations and Soil Foraging Characteristics in Managed Turfgrass




Barden, Samuel

Type of Degree



Entomology and Plant Pathology


White grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) are a significant pest of managed turfgrass throughout the United States and are difficult to monitor because of their subterranean habitat. Recent reports have stated that white grubs are becoming an increasing problem in southern turfgrass. Selective removal of common turfgrass ants using labeled insecticides can cause localized outbreaks of turfgrass pest. However, white grubs and other hypogeal insects are reported to escape predation of Solenopsis invicta (Buren) and seemingly co-exist in close proximity. After two years of field experiments examining interactions between S. invicta and white grubs, as well as examining this ant’s soil foraging characteristics, it was found that the control of S. invicta has no influence on white grub populations in turfgrass. Further investigation showed S. invicta does not forage within the soil for prey as previous research on other common turfgrass ants suggests. Experimental design flaws identified and addressed during this research highlights factors affecting previous studies on ant predation of subterranean pests that likely resulted in biased data.