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The Fire Ant Wars – Nature, Science, and Public Policy in Twentieth-Century America - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Fire Ant Wars: Nature, Science, and Public Policy in Twentieth-Century America

Joshua Blu Buhs


Sometime in the first half of the twentieth century, a coterie of fire ants came ashore from South American ships docked in Mobile, Alabama. Fanning out across the region, the fire ants invaded the South, damaging crops, harassing game animals, and hindering harvesting methods. Responding to a collective call from southerners to eliminate these invasive pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed a campaign that not only failed to eradicate the fire ants but left a wake of dead wildlife, sickened cattle, and public protest. With political intrigue, environmental tragedy, and such figur ... More

Keywords: fire ants, South America, Alabama, pest, Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson, social attitudes, eradication, nature, environment

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780226079813
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226079844.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joshua Blu Buhs, author