Home pagePress monitoringReplacing pesticides with ants to protect crops

Replacing pesticides with ants to protect crops

Date: 22.8.2022 

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Brazil, working with one colleague from Spain and another from the U.S., has found evidence that suggests ants can be used as a natural pesticide for a wide variety of crops.

Kredit: World Imaging / Wikimedia Commons.Over the past several decades, farmers around the world have turned to commercial pesticides to increase crop yields – reducing the number of insects that feed on crops results in more product. Unfortunately, prior research has shown that such pesticides can have some dramatic side effects, such as reductions in pollinators, pollution and concerns about what the chemicals in the pesticides do to the people that eat the crops.

Because of that, researchers around the world have started looking into the possibility of using natural pesticides. One such natural approach has involved the use of ants – they leave the crops alone and instead feed on the insects that damage plants.

Use of ants to control pests has a long history, citrus growers in China, for example, have been using ants to control pests in fruit trees for centuries. In this new effort, the researchers wondered what other researchers have found when looking into the use of ants as a natural pesticide. To find out, they searched for published research papers on the topic and found 52 of them that had involved looking into the use of ants as a way to control pests, covering 17 different types of crops.

The researchers conclude by suggesting that the use of ants to control pests appears to be a sustainable and inexpensive way to control pests on both large and small farms.

 


 

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