Using Ants as Pesticide? Check This New Research Finding

Using Ants as Pesticide? Check This New Research Finding

What do you usually do when you see ants marching in your garden? Do you try to get rid of them, like using pesticides? We suggest you to stop doing that. Letting them doing their chores is the best option for both of us.

Why? There are so many reasons, and the newest reason to just let the ants go is because they can be useful for your garden. Their presence is apparently more than just small annoying pests for the plants you are trying to grow.

The little insects can be one of the most diligent attendants in your garden. Moreover, they can help you to get rid of the annoying critters you don’t actually want in your garden. Yes, newest study found that ants can become the better alternative for pesticides.

Here, in this article, we are going to explore more about how ants can work as natural pesticide and why you should stop using chemical pesticides for good.

Effect of Pesticides on Bees

biodiversity bee

Sure, it is annoying to find your plants being swarmed by pests. Let alone the ones that can slowly kill your plants. Many farmers and gardeners try to solve this problem by utilizing chemical pesticides, and sure it is an effective answer for that matter.

However, chemical pesticides can cause many harms not only to your garden but also for the environment around. Take for example its effect for honey bees that may help you to pollinate the plants you are growing.

A study conducted by Clara Stuligross of University of California in Davis found that pesticides can harm the reproduction system in bees. Moreover, a particular kind of pesticide called neonicotinoids may harm the bees by disrupting their learning ability and memory.

The impact of infertility to bees affected by the pesticide may bring a butterfly effect to our food production in the future. Bees are known to be the most effective and versatile pollinators for most of our produce.

Worse is, this practice is done globally. In almost every corner of this planet, most farmers are still using harmful pesticides. If we keep harming bees for simple problems such as pests that can be gotten rid of using ants, we may end up starving our children.

How Ants Get Rid of Pests

Ants Colony by Axel Rouvin

Do you recall what ants eat? Many of you may answer ‘sugar’, but actually ants do not only eat sugar throughout their lives. Ants are actually predators in the wild that like to hunt for pests and smaller critters roaming around in your garden.

Further, different species of ants usually eat different kind of pests. Therefore, if you have many species of ants roaming in your garden, you may notice that the number of pests is pretty much lower than when you cannot find ants around.

This fact is scientifically proven by a group of analysts from various countries, including USA, Australia, UK, and Brazil. “In general, with proper management, ants can be useful pest controls and increase crop yield over time,” as the researchers wrote in a paper.

The paper published in Proceedings of Royal Society B also noted that asking for help from ants can save much more money for farmers. “Some ant species have similar or higher efficacy than pesticides, at lower costs,” as written in the study.

Simply just let them roam your field and garden, and ants will do wonder in keeping your beautiful plants alive. Everything in this nature has its own purpose, and this is just one of the purposes for the presence of ants.

Ants Management in the Field

Weaver_Ants_-_Oecophylla_smaragdina (Wikimedia Commons)

Ants may not always eat sugar, but they sure love it. That’s why, there are some things that you might want to solve first before pouring your cousin’s ant farm into your garden, because it may become a problem instead.

Some pests such as aphids and whiteflies produce sugary liquid called honeydew, which ants love. That’s why, whenever they find that the source is nearby, they will protect it instead of getting rid of it from your garden.

The ants will farm the aphids like we farm livestock and protect them from dangers including predators. But the thing is, we can actually prevent such kind of thing to happen by instead providing the sugar they want.

Just put some sweet substances near their nest, or near the places they usually visit, and the ants will let go of their relationship with the aphids and whiteflies. Researchers suggested that by doing this simple trick, the number of pests in your garden should start to decrease significantly.

“Our study encourages farmers to use more sustainable practices such as biological control provided by ants and practices of shaded crops as a way to naturally promote ants in crop systems,” as lead researcher  Dr Diego Anjos, from the Federal University of Uberlândia, told The Guardian.

The Precious Insects



Ants make up more than 50% of insects living in this planet. At least 14,000 species of them have been identified and it is suggested that there are more of them that researchers have not discovered yet in the wild.

This finding makes sure that the presence of the most populated insect in this planet is not in vain. Even some cultures have done utilizing them to make sure their crops grow better and stronger even without chemicals.

In example, in China, citrus farmers have been using ants for centuries. People from Canada, Ghana, and Nigeria have also done similar thing to protect their forest and crops. This research got enormous support from other researchers.

Researcher from the University of Nevada Pringle Lab, Dr Patrick Milligan, said that this finding is not very surprising yet very heartening. “This is essentially another option in our farming toolset that can allow agriculture to move away from pesticides,” he added.

While researcher from University of Gloucestershire, Prof Adam Hart, said that the power of ants may even be more complex than just natural pesticide. “Many of us have been talking about ants as natural pest controllers,” he said.

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