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Weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) performance in mango and cashew trees under different management regimes

Wargui R., Adandonon A., Sinzogan A.A.C., Anato F.M., Vayssières J.F., Kossou D., Offenberg J.. 2018. Sociobiology, 65 (2) : p. 208-214.

DOI: 10.13102/sociobiology.v65i2.1017

Weaver ants are used for biological control of insect pests in plantation crops. To obtain proper pest control, ant densities need to be high. Food availability and nesting facilities on host plants and management practices may affect ant performance. In the present study, we tested the effect of two host plant species (mango and cashew) and three different management practices (ants only, ants fed with sugar and ants combined with the soft chemical insecticide Spinosad) on weaver ant performance. Performance was assessed over a 22 month period, as an index value based on the number of ant trails per tree and as the number of ant nests per tree. A total of 216 trees (72 per treatment) were observed in each crop. In all treatments, the ants performed better in mango compared to cashew. Using the index based performance measure, ants also performed better in the sugar treatment as compared to the two other treatments, whereas this was not the case in cashew. We conclude that sugar feeding can be used to increase ant populations in mango. We also found that the treatment with Spinosad in combination with ants showed performance equal to the treatments with only ants, suggesting that Spinosad did not negatively affect ant populations. We therefore conclude that Spinosad is compatible with the use of weaver ants in integrated pest management programs.

Mots-clés : bénin

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