NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Tawny crazy ants are pushing fire ants out of some Louisiana sugar cane fields – one of the few places people are happy to see fire ants. Entomologists worry that the new invaders could hurt the crop.
Fire ants chomp away at one of the crop’s worst pests — a moth larva called the sugar cane borer. LSU AgCenter entomologist Blake Wilson says they do this without hurting the plant.
He says tawny crazy ants do eat those larvae, but are also known to protect aphids and other small, sucking insects that damage crops.
He’s planning studies to look at the crazy ants’ effectiveness at keeping down sugar cane borer infestations, and others to look at their interactions with other insects.