Chapter

: Fire Ants, from Savage to Invincible, 1957–1972

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/9780226079844.003.0004
: Fire Ants, from Savage to Invincible, 1957–1972

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This chapter highlights the severity of problems that the red fire ant caused and the opinions that clustered around the belief that the ant was a pest to be dealt with. This chapter also explains that the insecticides used to kill it were either a threat to other forms of life or were used with little regard for consequences. The ant changed its behavior in some areas where it had long been established, its density also declined along with its tendency to attack crops and vertebrates. During the same time, the insecticides were following their own natural laws, killing ants and songbirds. All these events were observed by people who had different standpoints who therefore interpreted these changes differently. The opinions of both the conservationists' and environmentalists' about the insect, the insecticides, and the eradication program surfaced from an interaction between the natural world and the ideas of those who represented different interests in American society.

Keywords: red fire ant; ant; insecticides; behavior; natural world; changes

Chapter.  20036 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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