Agriculture

Ant technology instead of chemical pest control?

Maybe you see ten false ants in ‘lieutenant’, the researchers indeed find ant as true commander in controlling other pests, even more effective   than chemical pesticides.

A number of recent researches revealed to have witnessed collective power of ants in tropical forests in killing off bigger pests successfully.

Taking in account   at least seventy studies,  a paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology said, the European farmers  can copy the practice of farmers in Asia, Africa and Australia of keeping ants for counter attack the pests which are harmful to crops to reduce dependence on chemicals pesticides.

Hunting capabilities combined with cooperative nature of working in ants can check pests, of  even much  larger sizes  than  of their own. If an ant locates a prey, it calls the other ants from the nest using pheromones. Combative and cooperative —thus powerful hunter the ants are , found   the author of the paper, Dr Joachim Offenberg .

The study mentioned, cashew nut production in Australia was increased after the ants had been used as pesticide, which also were proved to be more efficient nearly by 50 percent if compared with conventional chemical pesticides.  The quality too improved considerably yielding  71 percent more  income .

Farmers after developing the working force of ants, feeding them sugar syrup create a network of strings among trees to have ants walking through out the canopy, and ofcourse other ways.

Restricting ants from any inter-colony fight trees are pruned as required and water in dry spells give the crops round the year protection.

Ants protect crops, including cocoa, citrus and palm oil, not less than as efficiently as chemicals, the paper wrote.

Although examples in Asia, Africa and Australia are rare cases where ants were superior to chemicals, many studies show ants are just as efficient as chemical pesticides, Dr Offenberg said and added,  ant technology is surely much cheaper than chemical pest control.

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