Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Environmental Science and Engineering


William P. Mackay


This dissertation investigates the role of solar radiation on Solenopsis invicta, the red imported fire ant. This ant is considered a serious invasive pest in the southern United States. Four Texas cities where fire ants are found were studied: San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Wichita Falls, and the outlier, Lubbock. Shade angles were measured in eight compass directions within plots located along eight transect directions around buildings. Using the shade angle, solar radiation for different times of day and seasons were calculated. All of the cities were on the same precipitation isocline with the exception of Lubbock, Texas. The number of nests and the area of nest coverage was measured in each plot and compared to the solar radiation data. The data indicate that the time of day of lowest radiation, total radiation, and morning radiation are an important factor in number of nests found within a plot. In addition, temperature, precipitation, and distance from the building were also important in increased number and size of Solenopsis invicta nests.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

223 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Audrey Marie Hernando