The use of light to enhance weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) queen catches


  • Wilson A. Nene Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute
  • Joachim Offenberg Aarhus University
  • Gration M Rwegasira Sokoine University of Agriculture
  • Maulid w Mwatawala Sokoine University of Agriculture



light source, natural predator, founding queen, Tanzania


Production of live weaver ant (Oecophylla longinoda and O. smaragdina) colonies is being developed as the ants provide several ecosystem services in agriculture and as they are used in education and research laboratories. Founding queens needed for colony production can be caught in artificial nests made of live leaves that are curled on trees. In this study we investigated if the catch rate of O. longinoda queens in artificial nests could be improved by attracting queens to trees with a light source (electric torches). We compared catch rates of 50 artificial nests on each of eight citrus trees, four of them with light and four without light. During two mating seasons covering 9 mating flights we caught a total of 178 queens. However, 3.8 times more queens were caught in the trees with light compared to trees without light. We conclude that queen catches can be highly improved by combining artificial nests with an attracting light source.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Wilson A. Nene, Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute

Agricultural Research Officer, Under research department in the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries

Joachim Offenberg, Aarhus University

Senior Lecturer, Terrestrial ecology, Department of bioscience

Gration M Rwegasira, Sokoine University of Agriculture

Senior Lecturer, Department of Crop Science and Horticulture

Maulid w Mwatawala, Sokoine University of Agriculture

Senior Lecturer and Professor, Department of crop science and horticulture


Césard, N. (2004) Harvesting and commercialisation of kroto (Oecophylla smaragdina) in the Malingpeng area, West Java, Indonesia. Forest products, livelihoods and conservation. Case studies of non-timber product systems (eds K. Kusters & B. Belcher), pp. 61-77. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor.

Nene, W. A., Rwegasira, G. M., Nielsen, M. G., Mwatawala, M. & Offenberg, J. (2016). Nuptial flights behavior of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and weather factors triggering flights. Insectes Sociaux, 63: 243-248. doi: 10.1007/s00040-015-0456-9

Nene, W. A., Rwegasira, G. M., Offenberg, J., Mwatawala, M. & Nielsen, M. G. (2015). Mating behavior of the African weaver ant, oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology, 62: 396-400. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v62i3.650

Nielsen, M.G., Peng, R., Offenberg, J. & Birkmose, D. (2015). Mating strategy of Oecophylla smaragdina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in northern Australia. Austral Entomology, 55: 261-267. doi: 10.1111/aen.12182

Offenberg, J. (2011). Oecophylla smaragdina food conversion efficiency: prospects for ant farming. Journal of Applied Entomology, 135: 575-581. doi: 10.1111/j. 1439-0418. 2010.01588.x

Offenberg, J. (2015). Ants as tools in sustainable agriculture. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52: 1197-1205. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12496

Offenberg, J. & Wiwatwitaya, D. (2010). Sustainable weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) farming: harvest yields and effects on worker ant density. Asian Myrmecology, 3: 55-62. doi: 10.20362/am.003008

Ouagoussounon, I., Sinzogan, A., Offenberg, J., Adandonon, A., Vayssières, J. F. & Kossou, D. (2013). Pupae transplantation to boost early colony growth in the weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda latreille (hymenoptera: Formicidae) pupae transplantation to boost early colony growth in the weaver ant oecophylla longinoda latreille (hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology, 60: 374-379. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v60i4.374-379

Peng, R., Nielsen, M. G., Offenberg, J. & Birkmose, D. (2013). Utilisation of multiple queens and pupae transplantation to boost early colony growth of weaver ants Oecophylla smaragdina. Asian Myrmecology, 5: 177-184.

Peng, R. K. & Christian, K. (2006). Effective control of Jarvis’s fruit fly, Bactrocera jarvisi (Diptera : Tephritidae), by the weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina (Hymenoptera : Formicidae), in mango orchards in the Northern Territory of Australia. International Journal of Pest Management, 52: 275-282. doi: 10.1080/09670870600795989

Peng, R. K., Christian, K. & Gibb, K. (1998). Locating queen ant nests in the green ant, Oecophylla smaragdina (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux, 45: 477-480. doi: 10.1007/s000400050103

Pinkalski, C., Damgaard, C., Jensen, K. M.V., Peng, R. & Offenberg, J. (2015). Quantification of Ant Manure Deposition in a Tropical Agroecosystem: Implications for Host Plant Nitrogen Acquisition. Ecosystems, 18: 1373-1382. doi: 10.1007/s10021-015-9906-5

Rwegasira, R. G., Mwatawala, M., Rwegasira, G. M., Mogens, G. N. & Offenberg, J. (2015a) . Comparing different methods for trapping mated queens of weaver ants (Oecophylla longinoda; Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology, 25: 503-512. doi: 10.1080/ 09583157.2014.992861

Rwegasira, R. G., Mwatawala, M., Rwegasira, G. M. & Offenberg, J. (2015b). Occurrence of sexuals of African weaver ant (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) under a bimodal rainfall pattern in eastern Tanzania. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 105: 182-186. doi: 10.1017/S0007485314000868

Van Huis, A., van Itterbeeck, J., Klunder, H., Mertens, E., Halloran, A., Muir, G. & Vantomme, P. (2013). Edible Insects: future prospects for food and feed security. pp. 201. FAO, Rome.

Van Itterbeeck, J., Sivongxay, N., Praxaysombath, B. & van Huis, A. (2015). Location and external characteristics of the Oecophylla smaragdina queen nest. Insectes Sociaux, 62: 351-356. doi: 10.1007/s00040-015-0411-9

Van Mele, P. (2008). A historical review of research on the weaver ant Oecophylla in biological control. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 10: 13-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-9563. 2007.00350.x

Vidkjær, N. H., Wollenweber, B., Gislum, R., Jensen, K. M. V. & Fomsgaard, I. S. (2015). Are ant feces nutrients for plants? A metabolomics approach to elucidate the nutritional effects on plants hosting weaver ants. Metabolomics, 11: 1013-1028. doi: 10.1007/s11306-014-0757-4

Vidkjær, N. H., Wollenweber, B., Jensen, K. M.V., Ambus, P. L., Offenberg, J. & Fomsgaard, I. S. (2016). Urea in Weaver Ant Feces: Quantification and Investigation of the Uptake and Translocation of Urea in Coffea arabica. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 35: 1-12. doi: 10.1007/s00344-016-9586-1

Way, M. J. & Khoo, K. C. (1992). Role of ants in pest-management. Annual Review of Entomology, 37: 479-503. doi: 10.1146/annurev.en.37.010192.002403




How to Cite

Nene, W. A., Offenberg, J., Rwegasira, G. M., & Mwatawala, M. w. (2017). The use of light to enhance weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) queen catches. Sociobiology, 64(1), 14–17.



Research Article - Ants

Most read articles by the same author(s)