Important ant species
- Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)
- Carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.)
- Field ant (Formica spp.)
- Fire ant (Solenopsis spp.)
- Yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes)
Rice, corn, sorghum, and other grains, legumes, cucurbits, fruit trees, grapes and many other agricultural crops attacked by Homoptera.
Ants are found worldwide
Ants take the sown seeds back to their colony, feed on germinating seeds and on young seedlings. They tend insect pests like aphids, scales, whiteflies,
mealybugs, etc. These actions result in missing hills, thus loss of plant stand, uneven growth distribution in the field, and an increased incidence of diseases caused by the aphids, scales, etc (IRRI, 2003).
Eggs are delicate, soft, white, and are laid in clusters of 75 to 125 eggs.
The larva is grub-liked, legless, very soft, and whitish in color. It inflicts no damage as it depends on the worker ant (older sibling) for care and food.
The pupa is whitish and develops inside the ant's nest. It has visible legs and in some cases, wings. The pupal stage is the transitional stage between the larva and the adult which emerges during the final molt.
An adult ant varies in color, from blackish to reddish-brown depending on its species. It has robust mandibles with strong teeth that could inflict painful bites. It has elbowed- antennae, a thin waist, and if it is winged, the hind wings are smaller than the front
wings and have few veins.
Ants are also beneficial insects because they prey on termites, eggs, pupa, and caterpillars of insect pests. Nevertheless, they should not be introduced into vegetable gardens for insect pest control. Refer to the weaver ant
, a beneficial insect for the control of pests in orchards.