R-code and data from: New lethal liquid bait for control of pest ants

Published: 2 April 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/ry6t7j76wv.1
Asim Renyard, Kennedy Hoven, Charlotte Pinard, Gerhard Gries


The data set described here is a supplement to an article titled: "New lethal liquid bait for control of pest ants". The article uses both laboratory and field data to evaluate the effectiveness of a new liquid bait for ants. The methods to generate the data contained here are described in the aforementioned article. Abstract from article: "An aqueous ant bait consisting of sucrose (4.55% w/v), essential amino acids (1%), and water is known to be highly appealing to multiple ant species throughout the foraging season. Here, we tested whether this bait, combined with boric acid as the lethal agent, has potential for control of pest ants. Specifically, we: (1) assessed bait lethality to diverse species of ants (European fire ants, Myrmica rubra, western carpenter ants, Camponotus modoc, thatching ants, Formica oreas); (2) tested the effect of boric acid concentration on mortality of M. rubra workers and colonies; (3) compared consumption, and demise timeline, of lethal liquid baits and lethal gel baits; and (4) investigated whether lethal liquid baits reduce the size of M. rubra colonies. In laboratory experiments, the bait induced rapid worker mortality (<22 days) in all three species of ants tested. Increasing the concentration of boric acid from 1% to 5.4% accelerated the demise of only worker ants, but not queen ants, in M. rubra colonies, indicating that 1% boric acid is sufficiently lethal. Worker ants of M. rubra strongly preferred liquid baits to gel baits of identical nutrient composition, with the former bait accelerating worker demise. In a field experiment in a public park heavily infested with M. rubra, the 12 treatment colonies provided with a lethal liquid bait (4.55% sucrose; 1% EAA; 1% boric acid) over 114 days significantly declined, whereas the 12 control colonies provided with the corresponding non-lethal bait did not. The bait, with appropriately adapted bait deployment protocol, should be tested for control of other pest ants, particularly those that preferentially feed on liquid foods." This is uploaded as an R studio project and code used to wrangle data, analyze data and generate plots can be accessed in the project folder by opening the project file. The project contains: ---Data Data files of laboratory and field experiments to assess ant mortality to various bait formulations. ---Outputs Plots and csv files generated from data analysis. ---Scripts Scripts of R code used to wrangle data, conduct analyses, and generate outputs.


Steps to reproduce

The methodology for data collection is fully described in the associated article. Here we offer further descriptions of column names in our data sets to aid in understanding and reproduction of our analyses. Our data sheets column names refer to (names may vary by data sheet): calendar date ("date"), experimental treatment ("trmt"), replicate ("rep"), name of ant colony ("colony", "tupperware"), nest identification name or number ("nest", "col"), position of the tube in the bioassay (randomized to account for tube position; "pos"), initial weight for feeding tubes ("wi"), final weight for feeding tubes ("wf"), initial weight for evaporation controls ("wi.evap"), final weight for evaporation controls ("wf.evap"). For counts of ants, we have columns listing the: number of alive ("count", "live") or dead ("dead") workers, and number of alive ("alive_adj") or dead ("dead_adj") workers adjusted for workers that had died by day 0 (the start of the experiment) and thus were not exposed to the experimental treatments. For mortality trials with single ants, "A" and "D" refers to the alive or dead status of each ant respectively. The numeric column titles refer to the number of hours elapsed since the start of the experiment.