Black ant time bomb

Antoine N'yeurt, Suva | Wednesday, September 13, 2017
WHITE-FOOTED black ants or garden ants have become a common sight in most gardens and habitations in urban Suva and perhaps elsewhere in Fiji.

These insects are so numerous and well-organised that pest control companies cannot keep them at bay for more than a couple of weeks and they mercilessly attack all types of ornamental plants (hibiscus, tiare), fruit trees (guava, lemon, banana, soursop, etc.), and even palm trees (Royal Palm).

The uncontrolled ants collaborate with "rached" aphids ('white scales') to suck the leaves dry of their sap, and within a matter of weeks or a few months heavily infested trees and shrubs succumb to this onslaught.

The black ants problem is a time bomb for tourism, horticulture abd agriculture in Fiji.

If economically important plant and food crop species become adversely affected, the implications for the country (and the region, if it spreads) are enormous.

We would urge the Ministry of Agriculture to look closely at the matter and act now ub collaboration with research institutions to find mitigation and adaptation solutions to this ant problem, before it is too late.

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