Effect of Seasonal Dynamics on Queen Densities of the Argentine Ant (Linepithema Humile) in an Invaded Natural Area of the NE Iberian Peninsula

The annual elimination of large numbers of Argentine ant queens near the advance front of an invasion could be a useful tool for weakening the species’ dispersion and, therefore, limiting its establishment in non-invaded areas. However, before carrying out trials to test the effectiveness of this method it would be essential to have sufficient knowledge of the effect of seasonal dynamics acting on the queens’ densities of the species in order to determine the most favourable period of the year to act. We analyzed the seasonal densities and nest dynamics of Argentine ant queens in an invaded Mediterranean natural ecosystem. We observed that the queens’ density varied depending on the season of the year and that this variation was mainly due to the seasonal dynamics of nest aggregations in winter and ant dispersions in summer. The greatest densities per litre of nest soil were observed in winter (December to March, approximately) and the lowest densities were observed in summer ( June to July). This information is essential for improving current knowledge of the Argentine ant’s biology and developing control methods based on the elimination of queens in invaded natural areas ​
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