September 2012.A member from Sri Lanka said that he was looking to introduce weaver ants (Oecophala) to cashew plantation for the control of Helopeltis sp., and needed advice on food sources for the ants to encourage their introduction into the plantation.
In response, a member said that it was best to interplant the cashews with trees known to favour Oecophala in Sri Lanka in a 1 to 10 ratio. Allow the trees to grow and become infested with mealy bugs then transfer weaver ant nests into them. The weaver ants will establish and begin to forage the surrounding trees. The difficult part of this process is that weaver ants are not particularly good competitors against other ants so you need to find a way to keep other ants out of the crop. This worked to some extent 30 years ago in Solomon Islands in coconut plantations where they were interplanted with soursops.
References to a number of papers on the subject were provided:
Three publications that deal with this work are contained in the Proceedings of the International Cashew and Coconut Conference: trees for life – the key to development: held at Kilimanjaro Hotel, Dar es Salaam, 17-21 February, 1997
- Varela, A. M. (1998) Establishment of Oecophylla longinodaLatreille (Formicidae), a predator of the coconut pest Pseudotheraptus wayiBrown (Coreidae) in new areas in Tanzania. Proceedings of the 1997 International Cashew and Coconut Conference, 442-446.
- Seguni Z., Mwaiko, W. & Nyange, V. (1998) Effect of Amdro (Hydramethylnon) on Development of Oecophylla longinodaLatreillle (Formicidae) and Yield of Coconuts in Smallholder Farmers Fields in Tanzania. Proceedings of the 1997 International Cashew and Coconut Conference, 447-451.
- Mwaiko W. S. (1998) Role of Oecophylla longinoda(Formicidae) and Amdro (Hydramethylnon) Ant Bait in the Integrated Pest Management of Pseudotheraptus wayi(Coreidae) on Coconuts in Tanzania. Proceedings of the 1997 International Cashew and Coconut Conference, 452-455.
The proceedings, which also contain a number of papers on Helopeltis
that will be found to be useful, were published by BioHybrids International Ltd, PO Box 2411, Reading RG6 5FY, UK.