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Effect of Placement Method and Rate of Application of Crushed Fish Bones on the Activity of Predatory Ants and Impact on Termite Damage to Maize

  • M. B. Sekamatte (a1), S. Kyamanywa (a2), H. R. Willson (a3) and A. Russell-Smith (a4)

Abstract

Field experiments were conducted to investigate the attractiveness of fish bones to predatory ants in a maize agroecosystem. The fish bones were applied crushed in shallow furrows together with dry maize stalks, or broadcast on the soil surface at 3 application rates: 0, 40 and 80 kg/ha; subsequent reduction in termite attack on maize plants was then assessed. Burying the fish bone powder caused higher ant nesting (10–78 %) than surface broadcasting (12–39 %). Attractiveness of the fish bones and the predatory efficiency of the ants against termites in maize was also highest with a dose of 80 kg/ha (1.0 kg/plot) causing higher nesting of ants (>90 %) and 54 % lower termite damage to maize plants compared to control plots. Dose responses indicated significant relationships between amount of fish bone powder applied and termite activity and also between termite damage and maize yield. The mechanism by which the ants are able to protect maize against termite damage may be twofold: direct kill as a result of their predatory action and termite avoidance of maize plants with ant nests. Further studies are required to assess the potential benefits of an integrated use of this technique with other non-chemical options for termite control in maize, such as intercropping.

Des expérimentations de terrain ont été réalisées afin d'évaluer l'attractivité d'arêtes de poisson sur des fourmis prédatrices dans un agro-écosystème de maïs. Les aretes broyées ont été appliquées enfouies dans le sol avec des debris sees de maïs ou dispersées à la surface du sol à 3 doses: 0, 40 et 80 kg/ha et on a estimé la reduction des attaques de termites sur les plants de maïs suite à ces traitements. L'enfouissement de la poudre d'arêtes a provoqué une plus grande nidification des fourmis (10–78%) que l'épandage à la surface du sol (12–39%). L'attractivité des arêtes etdvd l'efficacité prédatrice des fourmis contre les termites dans les champs de maïs sont également plus importantes à la dose de 80 kg/ha (1,0 kg/parcelle); la nidification des fourmis est plus élevée (> 90%) et les dégàts provoqués par les termites sur le maïs sont réduits de 54%. L'effet dose réponse indique une relation significative entre la quantité de poudre d'arétes appliquée et l'activité des termites ainsi qu'entre les dégàts des termites et la production du maïs. Le mécanisme par lequel les fourmis sont capables de protéger le maïs contre les attaques de termites serait double: une mort directe par leur action prédatrice et le fait que les termites évitent des plants de maïs hébergeant des nids de fourmis.

Des études complémentaires sont nécessaires pour évaluer les bénéfices potentiels de l'intégration de cette technique avec d'autres méthodes non-chimiques pour le contrôle des termites dans les champs de maïs, telle que l'association culturale.

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Effect of Placement Method and Rate of Application of Crushed Fish Bones on the Activity of Predatory Ants and Impact on Termite Damage to Maize

  • M. B. Sekamatte (a1), S. Kyamanywa (a2), H. R. Willson (a3) and A. Russell-Smith (a4)

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