Chapter

Introduction

in The Fire Ant Wars

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780226079813
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226079844 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226079844.003.0001
Introduction

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This book provides a glimpse of nature and the ways in which Americans have been changed by it. This relationship is examined here using the story of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. This ant arrived in North America around the 1930s or early 1940s and spread over an area of more than 20 million acres. The Plant Pest Control Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1957 initiated the first two attempts using chemical insecticides to exterminate the insect. Historians have tried to explain why the USDA spent large amount of money over so many years to eradicate this insect. The efforts by the USDA failed to check the invasion of the insect and might have even helped it to spread. Thus, man cannot manipulate nature without consequence, as implicated by the failed efforts of the USDA.

Keywords: U.S. Department of Agriculture; USDA; fire ant; Solenopsis invicta; money; eradicate; insect; insecticide; invasion

Chapter.  2949 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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