Zhou, A.M., Liang, G.W., Zeng, L., Lu, Y.-Y., & Xu, Y.J. 2014 Interactions Between Ghost Ants and Invasive Mealybugs: the case of Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Phenacoccus solenopsis (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). Florida Entomologist 97(4): 1474-1480

Keywords:

  • ant association
  • natural enemies
  • Notes: In this study, we investigated the interactions between the ghost ant and the invasive solenopsis mealybug when the mealybug‚Äôs natural enemies were included. Our results indicated that the honeydew produced by mealybugs facilitated colony growth of the ghost ant significantly more than by allowing them to feed on the mealworm, Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Tending by the ghost ant increased mealybug survival on the plants when six-spotted zigzag lady beetle larvae, Cheilomenes sexmaculata (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), were present. Both lady beetle adults and the mealybug parasitoid, Aenasius bambawalei Hayat (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), showed strong avoidance responses to ghost ants.