||A little sugar or molasses may keep mango crops in Thailand healthier
The relationships among different species within an ecosystem display an amazing complexity. Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) are major predators of several insects that destroy tropical fruit and nut crops at great cost to farmers. However, they form a mutualistic relationship with honey dew-producing insects (Hemiptera) that are pests of mangos but provide the ants with food. With the support of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions programme, the MolassAnt project will attempt to disrupt this mutually beneficial relationship between weaver ant and Hemiptera in Thai fruit crops by providing sugarcane molasses or a 50 % sugar solution to the ants. The goal is to enhance the production of mangos and of queen brood, a valuable edible by-product and delicacy in Thailand.