Curriculum Ties

The research project may be used with Biology, Environmental Science, and Integrated Science courses at the high school level.  It was prepared as a guide for students to explore the impact that human activity may have on an ecosystem and the variety of societal issues that intervene in science issues.

Background for Teachers

The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) has spread throughout the Southeastern United States and, more recently, into Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Riverside, and Kern Counties of California. This species of ant is not indigenous to the United States. The growth of its habitat has created problems in the agricultural sector of our Nation’s economy. Also, this species of ant is aggressive and poses a threat to animals and people who encroach on a RIFA hill. Researchers have not yet found a safe reliable method to eradicate the Red Imported Fire Ant. The State of California Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) has delegated authority for handling the Red Imported Fire Ant problem to local governmental agencies.

Classroom Management Suggestions


The project may be adapted to fit local pest infestations including

As an extension, student may investigate the use of biological controls of pest populations including plants and animals.


Photos are used by permission of

Dr. B. M. Drees
Texas Fire Ant Project Coordinator

Texas A&M University


Time required to complete this project will vary depending upon the resources available to teachers.  In my classroom, I have a computer minilab consisting of 6 work stations with internet connections.  Also, several students may go to the library each day to work either online or off-line depending on the student load.   This activity would take approximately 6 to 7 class periods of 55 minutes.

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