Humanity brought forth synthetic insecticides when the latter are already provided for in nature: a new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology has documented how weaver ants happen to be good pest controllers.
Weaver ants from genus Oecophylla contribute to boosting crop yields for farmers by getting rid of pests. They are the epitome of biological control on farms; the researchers of the review paper describe them as being better than chemical pesticides. Additionally, they cost much less.
It appears that nature has had its own pest controllers since thousands of years ago. 1,700 years back, Chinese farmers would release ants in citrus groves for the purpose.
A 2008 study also focused on weaver ants: it was shown that the insects would get rid of pests on farms so effectively that net incomes increased by 71 %. Farmers in Vietnam would then use the ants for their cashew plantations.
It seems that the ants decrease the pest numbers and thus the damage they cause.
Furthermore, other ant species have displayed similar traits: they showed abilities to control arthropod pests, weeds, and plant diseases in orchards, forests and farms.