Pests

Black ants infest homes along the Suva-Nausori corridor

The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed receiving numerous complaints of black ants infecting homes and gardens of the residents along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

Newsroom

September 7, 2017 3:58 pm

In a statement, the ministry said that tests carried out by USP and Ministry of Primary Industries in New Zealand identified the black ant species as Technomyrmex species. The specimen was confirmed as belonging to the  Technomyrmex albipes species.

White-footed black ants will only be a problem if fruit trees, crops and vegetables are planted very close to buildings or homes as they are attracted to the honeydew produced on the leaves by sucking insects such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale insects and whiteflies which are in fact pests to these plants.

The ministry said the presence of these ants on plants will drive away beneficial insects such as Lady bird beetles; Encarsia species, lacewings and other insects that feed on these insect pests.

This will later result in the development of black sooty mould on the leaves and branches of the affected plants such as fruit trees and vegetables which in fact will affect the overall growth of the plants.

“Cultural Control” measures

  • Prune infested stems, branches and fruits and burn them
  • Apply mulch and manure to assist plant vigour
  • Destroy ant nest with boiling water without damaging the plants, without the ants the parasitoids (Encarsia species) and predators (Lady bird beetle, lace wings, spiders) will bring about natural control of insect pests.

“Chemical Control” measures

White Oil: add three (3) tablespoon or one-third cup of cooking oil and half teaspoon detergent soap in four (4) litres of water. Shake well and spray it in strategic spots along ant trails.

Soap solution: Use pure soap, not detergent. Add five (5) tablespoon of soap in four litres of water or two (2) tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in four (4) litres of water. Shake well and spray it in strategic spots along ant trails.

Commercial horticultural oils made from petroleum can also be used. White soap and horticultural oil sprays work by blocking the breathing holes of insects causing suffocation and death. Spray the undersides of leaves as the liquid must contact the insects. A second application of soap or oils may be necessary after three to four weeks.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.