African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6843

Full Length Research Paper

Farmers’ perception of a biological control agent, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and its effects on the quality of citrus fruits in Ghana

G. K. Abunyewah
  • G. K. Abunyewah
  • African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana.
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K. Afreh-Nuamah
  • K. Afreh-Nuamah
  • African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana.
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J. A. Nboyine
  • J. A. Nboyine
  • Crop Science Department, University of Ghana, Legon. Accra, Ghana.
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D. Obeng-Ofori
  • D. Obeng-Ofori
  • CSIR- Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, P. O. Box 52, Tamale, Ghana.
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M. K. Billah
  • M. K. Billah
  • African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana.
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  •  Received: 01 June 2015
  •  Accepted: 20 October 2015
  •  Published: 17 December 2015

Abstract

The red weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille is a predator of many insect pests of tree crops and its presence in orchards is perceived to result in improved fruit quality. This study therefore sought to investigate farmers’ perception of O. longinoda as a biological control agent for insect pests of citrus and its effect on fruit quality. A questionnaire-based survey was first used to investigate farmers’ perception of O. longinoda in major citrus growing districts in Ghana. Field and laboratory experiments were also conducted to test the effect of the presence of the weaver ant at different densities on taste [total soluble solids (TSS), total acidity (TA) and juice volume (JV)]. The survey results showed that 56% of farmers regarded weaver ants as pests, while 40% considered them as beneficial insects. Seventy percent observed no difference in taste while 28% observed improvement in taste. With respect to fruit appearance, 42% of the respondents said O. longinoda had no effect on appearance while 50% reckoned that it negatively affected the appearance of citrus. Laboratory analyses of citrus fruits showed that O. longinoda had no significant effect on fruit qualities. The implications of these findings on the acceptance of O. longinoda by farmers and suggestions for overcoming the challenges of accepting this biological control agent are discussed.

 

Key words: Farmers’ perception, predator, Oecophylla longinoda, orange, fruit quality.