Hooray for phorid flies!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by primroselane, Nov 13, 2004.

  1. primroselane

    primroselane Well-Known Member

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    http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041110/NEWS/411100528/1060

    Like "Apache helicopters," Santana said, the flies hover over fire ants, waiting to drop down and inject them with an egg that will eventually knock an ant's head off.

    Fire ants become so terrified of the hovering flies that they become paralyzed, breaking down the structure of their highly organized nests.

    Two years ago, Santana unleashed a pack of phorid flies on mounds of fire ants near Bee Ridge Road.

    Those tiny flies, which had an average life span of just 30 days, are long gone, but their offspring have been spotted miles away, hunting down red ants.

    A fly's injected egg grows in the thorax of its ant victim. Within two weeks, the larva moves into the ant's head, eventually munching it hollow until it drops off.

    The decapitated head becomes a protective capsule for the larva, which emerges a couple of weeks later as an adult fly, ready to inject eggs into more prey.
     
  2. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    YIPPPPEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! I hope they dont take toooo terrible long to get to Northeast Texas... Looking forward to the arrival of the flies, and decrease in those fire ants!!! Just a couple of days ago I discovered that some fireants had set up housekeeping in one of my potted ivy's---- on the kitchen ledge no less! maybe I can buy some flies??? :confused:
     

  3. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    If you are seriously interested in purchasing flies check BioControl Network and see if they carry them. One word of caution would be to fully research the flies before introducing them. Otherwise you may get rid of the ants but then need a solution to get rid of the flies, and so on and so on...
     
  4. CoonXpress

    CoonXpress Well-Known Member

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  5. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Absolutely!! Many of our problems were originally introduced as problem-solvers...remember kudzu? Starlings were introduced on a whim. We should have learned our lesson by now, but we haven't. We get desperate for the quick fix, and jump in feet first. :no:

    On the other hand, once the research is done, I'm first in line for the fire ant predators! :haha:

    Meg :)
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Phorid flies are not an introduced species. They have always been around. They are attracted to decaying matter and are occasionally an indoor pest. Their interest in fire ants is a fairly new discovery. When they show up indoors, it can be an indication of another problem, like a broken sewer line close to a structure. They also are listed as a mausoleum pest. They are about the size of a gnat and are covered in my text book in the same section as fungus gnats. I have only seen them one time here in CO and it turned out the city sewer was broken in the street next to the building. The city fixed it and the problem went away. I think it would be difficult to introduce them to your yard. If they are sold, I wonder if they ship them in garbage.
     
  7. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    If fire ant flies can live in GA, I'd be the first on the list, I put out poison, even injectable gas pellets have been used, and 20 feet away, a new nest pops up. I despise those things, just like fleas and ticks, I wonder where they fit in???

    Wish I had an anteater sometimes, and fire ant stings to me are worse than a bee sting. It takes three weeks sometimes for a sting to clear up completely on me and the bad thing is, you don't realize they are on you until they are all over you marching upwards stinging as they go...not a pretty sight and I've shed jeans and boots right in the yard once as I backed into a nest that I didn't see....

    I had to have injections after that incident as it seems to have increased my allergic reaction to them. Little horrid critters!

    Sidepasser
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Thank goodness we don't have fire ants this far north, but we do have some garganuan antills around here that can be the size of a small tractor tire in diameter and about nearly 2 ft. tall. :eek: They are red and blackish ants which can pinch but normally stay near their mounds.

    Someone mentioned using Cinnamon that is deadly to ants. I've never used it. Probably too expensive to control a large number anyway. Might be worth a try in the house, though.
     
  9. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

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    I start out by mixing powdered sugar and water until it's almost a paste, then I mix in 20 muleteam soap until it's a ball you can mold with your hands. Squeeze pieces off and bury in anthills, or stick somewhere children and animals can't get to it. Only takes 2 or 3 days and no more ants. If anyone has a problem with the haphazard way I permantly get rid of red ants, carpenter ants, sugar ants, red and black ants, cry me a river. shadowwalker