Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 271–276

Ants (Azteca sp.) as potential biological control agents in shade coffee production in Chiapas, Mexico

  • John Vandermeer
  • Ivette Perfecto
  • Guillermo Ibarra Nuñez
  • Stacy Phillpott
  • Alvaro Garcia Ballinas
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021328820123

Cite this article as:
Vandermeer, J., Perfecto, I., Ibarra Nuñez, G. et al. Agroforestry Systems (2002) 56: 271. doi:10.1023/A:1021328820123

Abstract

The role of Azteca sp. ants as potential biological control agents was studied in an organic coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico. Individual larvae of Pieris rapae were placed on trees with artificially enhanced ant activity and both time to disappearance of the larvae and ant activity were recorded. There was a general negative relationship between time to disappearance and ant activity. A census of spiders was made of coffee bushes with and without foraging Azteca, encountering a negative relationship between ants and spiders. These results indicate that Azteca ants have potential as pests through their positive effect on scale insects, but also have potential as biological control agents, through their negative effect on potential herbivores. Furthermore, the correlation between ant and spider densities suggests a complicated relationship between these two predatory organisms, implying a more complicated food web structure than simply ants, homoptera and other herbivores.

Food websIntegrated Pest ManagementNatural enemiesPest controlShade trees

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Vandermeer
    • 1
  • Ivette Perfecto
    • 2
  • Guillermo Ibarra Nuñez
    • 3
  • Stacy Phillpott
    • 1
  • Alvaro Garcia Ballinas
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Escuela de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), TapachulaChiapasMexico