Red wood ant nest transplants to assist biological control in forests

The red wood ant (formica rufa) is widely used for biocontrol in Turkish forests and its habitats have been extensively studied, but there are still gaps in the study of nest transplantation and the effects this entails.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In this study, the authors analysed red wood ant nest transplant data collected from forest biocontrol sites in southern Turkey to determine habitat parameters related to nest transplant success. Using these data and data extraction methods, the researchers also suggested a way to predict nest transplant success that could be used prior to the transplant effort.

Red wood ants are widely used for biocontrol in Turkish forests. Although the ecological characteristics of redwood ant habitats are well known, the statistical importance of these characteristics and their effects on nest transplant success are largely unknown. However, having such knowledge on a local scale can help predict the success of a planned transplant effort and can avoid wasting time and money. We have found that altitude, appearance, and cover closure are the most important factors affecting transplant success. The authors of this study also show that the likelihood of success for a given area can be predicted when certain parameters are known.

The approach presented in this study can assist biological control professionals in planning biological control programs and selecting favorable sites for red ant nest transplantation. However, our results are the most relevant to redwood ant transplants in southern Turkey. A model for each geographical region should be built from the beginning.

Full reference

Serttaş, A., Bakar, Ö., Alkan, U. M., Yılmaz, A., Yolcu, H. İ., & İpekdal, K. 2020. Nest Survival and Transplantation Success of Formica rufa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Ants in Southern Turkey: A Predictive Approach. Forests, 11(5), 533.

VIAAhi Evran University Faculty of Agriculture, Turkey
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Kahraman Ipekdal
Kahraman Ipekdal studied biogeography and management of forest pest insect populations; mainly that of the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa and T. wilkinsoni), the chestnut gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) and the western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis).