Phorid Fly Success in Alabama

Since the first release of phorid flies into Alabama in 1998, the flies have spread over 2/3 of the state, and are continuing to spread outward by 10-20 miles each year. The expansion of the phorid flies continues to be monitored each summer.

This past summer, Wilcox County became the first site in the United States to have three species of phorid fly established in one place, and also the only place in the country where the Pseudacteon litoralis species has ever been recovered in the field. Pseudacteon tricuspis, Pseudacteon curvatus, and now Pseudacteon litoralis are all combating fire ants together at this site. 

There are more than 20 different species of phorid fly present in South America, which is the fire ant and phorid fly's natural home. The Alabama Fire Ant Management Program plans to release a fourth of these species into Alabama this summer, Pseudacteon obtusus. This phorid species attacks smaller fire ant workers and prefers trailing or solitary ants; whereas the other three species are attracted to mound disturbances.

For more information on the biological control of fire ants, visit or browse through our Fire Ant Report Archive.

Map of Phorid Flys in Alabama

Figure 1 Locations of phorid flies in Alabama.

Location: Years: Species: Released by: Cooperators:
Macon 1999 P. tricuspis Graham Michael Williams, landowner
Franklin 2000 P. tricuspis Graham Tim Reed, ACES
Talladega 2000 P. curvatus Graham
Henry Dorough, ACES
Lowndes 2001 P. tricuspis Graham David Oglesby, ACES
David Daniel, ACES
Madison 2002 P. curvatus Ken & Rufina Ward Alabama A&M
Colbert 2002 P. curvatus Ken & Rufina Ward Natchez Trace
Walker 2002 P. curvatus Graham Danny Cain, ACES
Baldwin 2002 P. tricuspis Graham
Marla Faver. ACES
Barbour 2003 P. tricuspis Graham
Charlie Mason, ACES
Cullman 2003 P. curvatus Graham Charles Pinkston, ACES
Marengo 2003 P. tricuspis Graham Kevan Tucker, ACES
Tuscaloosa 2004 P. tricuspis Graham Michelle Mobley, ACES
Dekalb 2005 P. tricuspis Graham Tony Dawkins, AAES
Wilcox 2005 P. litoralis Graham Jack Biddle, landowner
Mobile 2006 P. curvatus Graham Bruce Porter, Fish and Wildlife Services
Lee 2008 P. obtusus Graham Phil and Daria Story, landowners

Table 1 Locations of phorid fly releases in the state of Alabama.

Extension Resources

Phorid Flys in the News

Article Name: >Fear of predators may be a bigger killer than the predators themselves
Media Contact: Todd McLeish
"When biologists consider the effects that predators have on their prey, they shouldn’t just count the number of individuals consumed. According to a University of Rhode Island ecologist, they must also examine the effects of fear."

Fire Ant Management

For a variety of management tactics, visit our publications page, and more information on fire ant management can be found at

Extension Resources

Last Updated: March 28, 2013

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