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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 248-253

Improving ant-surveillance trap design to reduce competitive exclusion

L.D. Stringer, D.M. Suckling, L.T.W. Mattson and L.R. Peacock


The National Invasive Ant Surveillance is conducted annually around ports and other high-risk areas to detect new ant incursions into New Zealand. Currently, non-sticky food-baited vials are used to trap ants. The ability of a sticky bait trap to trap multiple ant species at baits was tested, under the hypothesis that a sticky trap would reduce the role of competitive exclusion at food sources, a drawback of food baiting. Furthermore, the role of food type, sugar, protein and a combination of both foods, on ant catch was examined. Although only 4% of traps caught multiple species, this incidence was five times greater in the sticky-bait than food-only vials. The combined food source traps caught ants more often than the single food source traps. The refinement of ant monitoring traps will aid surveillance managers in the future.

Keywords: food attractant, trapping, Formicidae, surveillance, ants.

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