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Crematogaster chiarinii ants as a potential biological control agent for protecting honeybee colonies from attack by Dorylus quadratus driver ants in Ethiopia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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Driver ants of the genus Dorylus are well known across tropical Africa for their aggressive foraging swarms. Although these swarms have beneficial effects in clearing out invertebrate pests; they destroy thousands of honeybee colonies and, accordingly, cause significant economic losses. Fear of driver ant attack leads most beekeepers in tropical Africa to hang their beehives high up on trees, making proper bee management difficult and limiting the involvement of women and the elderly. In Ethiopia, forest beekeepers have recognized that beehives hung on trees containing nests of an arboreal ant Crematogaster chiarinii Emery 1881 remain safe from invasion by swarms of a driver ant Dorylus quadratus Santschi 1914. In the present study, we report investigations into the mode and efficacy of the C. chiarinii defence system, as well as the potential for increasing its populations and enhancing this biological protection.
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Keywords: Bee‐keeping; Crematogaster chiarinii; Dorylus quadratus; Ethiopia; biological control; interspecies competition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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