Farmer uses red ants to protect fruit trees against pests

| September 25, 2017

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Chemical farm products such as pesticides are being used more frequently to protect tree plantations against pests. But using chemical pesticides can endanger the environment and human health.
Our Script of the week introduces Mr. Ibrahim Wallis Zoumarou from northern Benin. This innovative fruit tree planter uses red ants against pests such as fruit flies, dust mites, and leaf miners. Some of these insects attack the flowers and destroy them; others attack ripe fruits.
Mr. Zoumarou learned about the benefits of red ants when he heard that fruit growers in Vietnam were using them. He says there was no need to introduce the ants to the plantation, because there were already many ants present. But, in his ignorance, he had been killing them every time he sprayed the plantation with pesticides or burned the grass.
Because he seldom sprayed his cashew trees with pesticides, there were many red ants on the cashew trees. He cut off some cashew branches with lots of ants on them, then placed those branches on a few mango trees. The ants slowly settled in, then invaded the whole plantation.
Now, the ants eat pests and keep them away from the fruit trees. As Mr. Zoumarou says, “They quietly and independently manage my plantation. I respect them a lot.”
Are there innovative farmers in your area who are taking advantage of the activities of ants or other naturally occurring insects and other creatures?
Talk to these farmers and to experts on pest management. Publicize stories of farmers who are avoiding chemical pesticides and finding safer ways to manage pests.