Sunday, August 15, 2010

Red Ants Are Effective VS. Army Worms

The Department of Agriculture (DA), Iloilo city discovered an unconventional way to control the sudden attack of army worms in Region 6, in the guise of ants.

According to Ric Saltin of the DA, the farmers in Guimaras province are depending on the red ants to kill army worms that are attacking their plants and high value commercial crops.

"The farmers and technicians learned that they have to lure the ants into the army worms crawling in the ground," Saltin added. The farmers use coconut milk to spray on the army worms. They could also use the rinds or grinded coconut meat and sprinkle them on the army worms anytime, he said. Some farmers even use red sugar, he said.

Soon, hundreds of ants would be swarming all over the army worms and bites them. These prevent them from crawling and slowly die. Most red ants have small amount of venom and are meat eaters, especially insects.

The ants act as biological pest control by eating the army worms, according to Saltin. It is also able to detect the army worms especially when they are covered with coconut milk. This process of pest control against the army worms is all natural. The farmers are also finding it more effective and efficient than using chemical and other pesticides.

Farmer field school students and technicians of the DA in Kabangkalan, Negros Occidental are using a special type of fungus that infects the army worms and kills them in the process.

However, with the onset of the rainy season, the population of army worms will diminish since it will wash and drown them in the fields. The natural way to control these pests is through flooding their area, Saltin said. The torrential rains do it.

Army worms are pests since they eat everything in an area. They migrate to new feeding areas during cooler time of the day. Reports of army worms attacks in Region 6 cover Guimaras, Capiz, and Negros Occidental. /MP

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