Utilisation of multiple queens and pupae transplantation to boost early colony growth of weaver ants Oecophylla smaragdina

Renkang Peng, Mogens Gissel Nielsen, Joachim Offenberg

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Abstract

Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius) have been increasingly used as biocontrol agents of insect pests and as insect protein for human food and animals. For either of these purposes, mature ant colonies are essential. However, for a newly established colony to develop to a suitable mature size takes 3 years, which is too long. Multiple queens and non-nestmate pupae transplantation may be the way to boost early colony growth. An experiment on newly founded O. smaragdina colonies with 2, 3 and 4 founding queens together with transplantation of 0, 30 and 60 non-nestmate pupae from a mature donor colony was conducted in 2010 at Darwin, Australia. The survival rates of the imago workers from transplanted pupae ranged between 73 - 97%, suggesting that queens in incipient colonies accepted foreign pupae. Colony size was positively related to the number of founding queens. Compared with the colonies without pupae transplantation, colonies with 30 and 60 transplanted pupae produced 110% and 200% more brood, respectively. A production of 476% more brood was achieved by 4-queen colonies with 60 pupae transplantation than by 2-queen colonies without pupae transplantation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Myrmecology
Volume5
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
ISSN1985-1944
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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