Bioactivity of Asclepias curassavica, Equisetum spp. and Rosmarinus officinalis Extracts Against Leaf-Cutting Ants

Vânia Maria Ramos, Rafael Gervasoni Ferreira Leite, Viviane Tavares de Almeida, Roberto da Silva Camargo, João Vitor Souza Cruz, Renato Marcos de Leão, Matheus Venâncio Prado, Mariana Cristina Sousa Pereira

Abstract


Chemical control of leaf-cutting ants is widely used, but alternative control with toxic plant extracts is promising. Substances with insecticidal potential extracted from plants have numerous ecological advantages. This study evaluated the insecticidal and/or fungicidal potential of the plants Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed), Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) (rosemary) and Equisetum spp. (horsetail) for control of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa Forel, 1908 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Forty laboratory-reared colonies of Atta sexdens rubropilosa were used. The plants were collected, dried out in a circulating air oven for 48 hours, ground, and macerated in 96o ethanol until exhaustion. After filtration, the products were evaporated under reduced pressure to obtain the ethanolic extracts. Acceptance of the reagent, topical application of the extracts, and application of baits containing 4% of the plant extracts were tested. The results showed that all plant extracts tested negatively influenced the development of the fungus garden. Baits produced with Asclepias curassavica caused the highest mortality of the colonies within 7 days. In conclusion, the ethanolic extracts of Asclepias curassavica, Rosmarinus officinalis and Equisetum spp. exhibit insecticidal (contact and ingestion) and fungicidal activity in colonies of the leaf-cutting ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa.


Keywords


Atta spp.; plant extracts; botanical insecticides; alternative control

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v66i4.4271

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