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Fire Ants Killing Baby Song Birds At High Rates

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 01:08 PM
Original message
Fire Ants Killing Baby Song Birds At High Rates
Science Daily Red imported fire ants may be killing as many as a fifth of baby song birds before they leave the nest, according to research recently completed at Texas A&M University.

A young, white-eyed vireo lies in its nest. (Credit: Photo by Andy Campomizzi, the Texas A&M University Institute of Renewable Natural Resources)

Andy Campomizzi, graduate research assistant in the department of wildlife and fisheries sciences, studied black-capped vireos and white-eyed vireos in Coryell County over a span of two years Campomizzi kept records on a total of 72 nests of both species. Of the nests where there was no pesticide treatment, only 10 percent of the young birds fledged and were able to leave the nests. Of the nests with treatment to protect them from fire ants, 32 percent fledged. Nearly 70 percent are lost to other causes, and fire ants knocked the survival rate down an additional 22 percent.
"That was a bigger difference than we thought it would be," he said. "Fire ants were definitely a mortality factor for song birds."
The black-capped vireo which breeds only in the Edwards Plateau of Texas, a couple of areas in Oklahoma and northern Mexico is an endangered species. The white-eyed vireo is found more extensively throughout the southeastern U.S. and is not endangered.
more

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912143334.htm
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Poor birds
where are the imported red fire ants from?
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BOSSHOG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. They are evil little SOBs
They could kill a human if one were to get too many on oneself. No fun whatsover.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
3. It's not just songbirds
Since the migration of fire ants from Mexico into Texas, the birds here that nest on the ground have diminished significantly. I spend a lot of time in nature and see less than half of what I did even thirty years ago. Our quail and Kildee populations have suffered greatly, as well as the horned toad, which is almost extinct in our neck of the woods these days. I would see them daily thirty years ago, but I have not seen a horned toad in twenty years. Other toads and frogs seem to be disappearing as well, but I don't know if it is due to the fire ants or pesticides.
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Retired AF Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. Been fighting them all this summer
Every time I cut my grass I find another mound. I have used up much poison this summer.
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Is there another solution

You may be contributing to breeding poison-resistant fire ants
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zalinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Since I don't have them, I don't know if this would work
Try boiling water. It works on weeds, and it's natural. Pouring a pot full of boiling water certainly would kill most that are in the mound.

They do breed to withstand poisons in future generations.

zalinda
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. Call in the Ozzies!
Australians have developed the most effective eradication program in the world.

See: http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fireants/8063.html

http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/fireants/
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. This baiting program is also used in Texas though is generally left up to the resident/land owner
Edited on Mon Sep-17-07 05:49 PM by Dover
to implement.

I wonder about these baits. Do they also kill other ant species who are already struggling with the fire ants for survival as well as affecting other helpful insects?

Do birds eat/digest the cornmeal covered bait?

The other thing Texas has done, though I'm uncertain as to it's success, is to introduce the fly that is the fire ant's natural preditor.
The fly lays it's eggs on the ant's body and devours the ants when the eggs hatch (or something like that). Another dangerous game, as the fly is not indigenous either.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. The two most effective treatments sterilize the queen
Edited on Mon Sep-17-07 06:50 PM by depakid
No queen, eventually no ants. I expect it probably kills the native ants as well- but the baits are targeted- and some "collateral damage" from eradication has far less impact than allowing them to spread across the country.

Ozzies as a rule are EXTREMELY wary of controls that affect their native wildlife. They've had a long experience with well intentioned schemes gone bad- so my bet is that the hormones and the toxin used are insect specific, and won't harm other critters.

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Delphinus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Man,
we are SO out of balance!

If we kill off the fire ants, certainly that's going to throw one system out of whack - yet, if we do nothing, the avian culture will be out of whack. :shrug:
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
10. I have a plan.
And that plan involves several million toothpicks and a 55 gallon drum of chocolate fondue.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Where can I volunteer?
:D
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em.
I'm already trying to figure out what spices will go best with blue-green algae and jellyfish.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Well, first of all the algae and the jellyfish go together...
I'd suggest bonito flakes, sesame seeds, and soy sauce for starters.... :)

Or maybe a miso dressing? :9
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. see, this is exactly why I should leave cooking to other people.
Because here I was needlessly wrestling with "Nachos and Jellyfish Salsa With Taco Seasoning". I shouldn't go there.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Oh, and it should be served over sushi rice...
But that goes without saying. :P
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. The joy of fusion cooking....
:rofl:
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Dude, we should have a recipe contest for invasive/exotics.
Starlings, pike, bullfrogs, zebra mussels... I bet there's some critters out there that are good eatin'. :9
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. "there's some critters out there that are good eatin'.
Yep- and you can see a few of them displayed on the dim sum carts at one of my local restaurants!
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. .....but you'll never know which ones!
:scared:
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-17-07 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. The ULTIMATE ant forum
http://p211.ezboard.com/bantfarm

Lots of info/discussion on fire ants here.
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