Monday, February 28, 2011

Red ants wage war on borer

ENB cocoa experts to check on locals’ claim




A COUPLE in East New Britain has claimed that red ants have played a vital role in tackling cocoa pod borer (CPB) in their cocoa block, The National reports.

They noticed a few weeks ago that the quality of cocoa that was covered with red ants was better than those without ants.

“The quality of cocoa with red ants on them is good and creamy, and we believe this could be a possible solution to fighting CPB throughout the country,” they said.

James and Bonnie Wartovo said they were amazed when they realised the difference when harvesting cocoa in the past few weeks.

Another villager also claimed that ants were fighting CPB in her backyard cocoa block.

She told The National that she had been monitoring her cocoa trees for a few weeks and later concluded, after several harvests, that red ants were fighting the borer.

A scientist at the Cocoa and Coconut Research Institute (CCI), Dr Eremas Tade, said there was a possibility red ants were fighting CPB.

He said black ants were used to fight CPB in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Research showed that biological controls such as black ants were harmless to the pods and deadly to the borers.

He said the claims made by these villagers were important and CCI would send a team to investigate these cocoa trees and to confirm the role of red ants in CPB management.


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