Since 1998, the Alabama Fire Ant Management Program has been releasing decapitating flies, natural enemies of imported fire ants. Thus far, five species of decapitating flies have been released in Alabama: Pseudacteon tricuspis, Pseudacteon curvatus, Pseudacteon litoralis, Pseudacteon obtusus, and Pseudacteon cultellatus. These flies, originally from Brazil and Argentina, were imported by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Extensive testing in South America and in quarantine facilities at the USDA-ARS, CMAVE lab in Florida has shown that the decapitating flies are not harmful to humans, mammals, or other groups of insects. It is hoped that these organisms will provide a natural, biological control of fire ants.
To see the decapitating flies in action:
Red Imported Fire ant species and Black Imported Fire Ant species can hybridize. This map displays where each species or hybrid has been collected in Alabama.
For more information on imported fire ants in Alabama please see:
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System – Fire Ant Resources
- Where can you borrow a Herd Seeder to apply fire ant bait?