A Prediction Model of Solenopsis invicta, The Red Imported Fire Ant

EPA Grant Number: U916097
Title: A Prediction Model of Solenopsis invicta, The Red Imported Fire Ant
Investigators: Hernando, Audrey M.
Institution: The University of Texas at El Paso
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2005
Project Amount: $112,288
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Environmental Science and Engineering


The objective of this research project is to understand the red imported fire ant and investigate how solar radiation, soil properties, weather conditions, and any anthropogenic influences impact the observed effects of Solenopsis invicta.


S. invicta, the red imported fire ant, is a pest that was first introduced into the United States from South America in the 1940s. It has spread without natural predators, throughout much of the southern United States and west into west Texas, Arizona, and California. S. invicta compete with insects as well as other ants taking over habitat of native species. Economically, fire ants cause damage to livestock, crops, and structures resulting in millions of dollars in damage. In addition, these fire ants can cause death in sensitive individuals.

In this study, solar radiation, or insolation, is determined around the perimeter of buildings not exceeding two times the height of the building in Lubbock, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Witcha Falls, Texas. Measurements are taken in the eight compass directions (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW) in the center of 3-m2 plots along each transect at 8-m intervals. Nest coverage within each plot also is determined. Soil properties and weather conditions effects currently are being evaluated; however, preliminary results indicate significance between S. invicta nest coverage and solar radiation.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, Solenopsis invicta, red imported fire ant, native species, solar radiation, soil properties, weather conditions, anthropogenic influences.

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 153KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002
  • 2003
  • Final