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Techniques: Drip Floatation Method (Fire ants)

8 Oct
Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) form a raft after the drip floatation method is employed.

Fire ants form a raft on the rising water after the drip floatation method is employed.

New page up in the techniques section.  Please check out my run-down on the drip floatation method for fire ants.

Although the mounds of fire ants are the most visible part of their home, this structure is used only for regulating the temperature of ants and brood during certain seasons and parts of the day.  A large portion of the nest is hidden from view underground.  The subterranean nesting habits of ant colonies can make the transition from field to lab studies tricky– how does one go about separating thousand and thousands of ants and their delicate brood from a heap of dirt?

In fire ants, the drip floatation method takes advantage of a flood-survival adaptation of the ants to accomplish this task (Banks et al, 1981).

Find more techniques for insect collecting and rearing in the techniques section.