Fighting the fiery little farmers

Contributed by Roger Day, CABI

Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)
Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta)
Photo by stevenw12339 CC BY-NC 2.0

Ants farm bugs like people farm cows. So said Dr Ben Hoffmann of CSIRO, Australia, who led the Tuesday evening seminar at the 11th Session of the Commission for Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) on invasive ants.  That’s why they’re a problem in agriculture. They protect and encourage other pests like mealy bugs, which reduce crop production and have to be controlled.  Some ants have a painful burn-like sting, so are aptly known as fire ants.

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Update: Plant Health News (28 Jan 15)

Ants seen on an Indonesian cocoa pod © Sanjit Das/CABI
Ants seen on an Indonesian cocoa pod © Sanjit Das/CABI

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including native ants helping to improve cocoa yields in Indonesia, unseasonal rains affecting crops in India and local mangoes in the Philippines declared free from mango seed weevil.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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Update: Plant Health News (16 Jan 14)

Mobile phones are increasingly being used in agriculture © CIAT (CC BY-NC-SA)
Mobile phones are increasingly being used in agriculture © CIAT (CC BY-NC-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the role of radio and mobile phones in boosting crop yields in Namibia, the discovery of ants protecting Acacia trees from pathogens and different approaches to controlling the emerald ash borer in the US.

Click on the link to read more of the latest plant health news!
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