Ant management in vineyards

Project Number
WW 05-08

Project title
Ant management in vineyards

Project leader
Addison, P

Project description
The objective of this project was to find an effective method for ant control that is cost effective, practical and acceptable for an integrated control programme, and to establish the basic bionomics (distribution and nesting preferences) of pest ant species.

Ant control trials conducted over seven seasons showed that direct stem treatments are the most effective method of ant control. Fastac (alphacypermethrin) SC has been registered for Argentine and pugnacious ants at 10 ml/l and 20 ml/l, respectively, while Lorsban (chlorpyrifos WDG) at 41 ml/l is currently being considered for registration for Argentine ant control.

In a survey conducted in six vine-growing areas of the South Western Cape, a total of 42 ant species were recorded. It was found that four ant species are of economic importance in vineyards, namely, the Argentine ant, the two pugnacious ant species and, to a lesser extent, the cocktail ant. The little, ubiquitous, white-footed ant (Technomyrmex albipes) and two Pheidole spp. were also found to tend mealybug, but were very limited in distribution and are therefore not considered of economic significance at this stage. The remaining ant species were primarily seed harvesters, with a few predatory species. This stresses the importance of identifying the ant species in a problem vineyard correctly, before applying control measures as the ants occurring there may not be pests. The primary factors found to affect ant distribution were the abundance of available food sources (honeydew from mealybug) and irrigation and rainfall.

There are strong indications that Grazing vetch and permanent dwarf fescue could be effective in deterring ants from nesting in vineyards. Such a method could be used as a supplement to chemical ant control in that population pressure is reduced. Furthermore, it appears as if such a management method will only be effective if the mealybug infestation is at a manageable level. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that future cover crop trials be conducted in vineyards that have more manageable mealybug infestations. A new project has been initiated to investigate the effects of cover crops in managing ants and increasing natural enemies of mealybug for integrated mealybug control.

Poster(s)
Ueckermann, P. 1999. The distribution of ant species in Western Cape Vineyards. Poster presented at the 24th National Congress of the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture, 18-19 November, Somerset West, South Africa.

Ueckermann, P. 2000. Distribution and control of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in vineyards in the major grape growing regions of South Africa. Poster presented at the 21st International Congress of Entomology. 21-26 August, Iguassu Falls, Brazil.

Ueckermann, P. 2001. Distribution and control of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in vineyards in the major grape growing regions of South Africa. Poster presented at the13th Entomology Congress of South Africa, July Pietermaritzburg, July

Presentation(s)
Addison, P. 2001. Ant management in vineyards. Paper presented at the 25th National Congress of the South African Society for Enology and Viticulture. 15-16 November, Somerset West, South Africa.

Addison, P, Samways, M J and Walton, V M. 2003. An integrated approach towards ant management in vineyards. Paper presented at the Congress of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa, July, Pretoria, South Africa.

Addison, P. 2003. Mierbestuur by wingerd. Presentation at the Producer Information Day, April, Darling, South Africa.

Addison, P. 2003. Mierbestuur by wingerd. Presentation at the Producer Information Day, July, Malmesbury, South Africa.

Addison, P and Walton, V M. 2004. Latest development in ant and mealybug research. Presentation at the 4th Grapevine Virus Workshop. May, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Article
Ueckermann, P. 1998. Ant control in vineyards, Wynboer, Mnth Apr (p. T8-9)

Addison, P, Samways, M J. 2000. A survey of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) foraging in the Western Cape vineyards of South Africa, African Entomology, v. 8 (2) (p. 251-260)

Addison, P. 2001. Ants foraging in vineyards in Western Cape Province, WineLand, Mnth Apr (p. 95-98)

Addison, P. 2002. Chemical stem barriers for the control of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in vineyards, South African Journal of Enology and Viticulture, v. 23 (1) (p. 1-8)

FinalReport.pdf

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