The Kid Should See This

How can weaver ants protect an entire orchard?

In this mango orchard in Northern Thailand, weaver ants are nurtured so they can thrive and protect the harvest. The ants hunt the pests that would eat the mangoes, eliminating any need to use harmful chemical pesticides. The farmer creates strategic highways of red string to connect the weaver ants to new trees, expanding where they forage.

weaver ants on string
As the colonies flourish, they work together to build large silk-woven nests in the leaves. This Wild Thailand clip from BBC Earth shares how they’re made. More from Wikipedia:

The weaver ant’s ability to build capacious nests from living leaves has undeniably contributed to their ecological success. The first phase in nest construction involves workers surveying potential nesting leaves by pulling on the edges with their mandibles. When a few ants have successfully bent a leaf onto itself or drawn its edge toward another, other workers nearby join the effort. The probability of a worker joining the concerted effort is dependent on the size of the group, with workers showing a higher probability of joining when group size is large. When the span between two leaves is beyond the reach of a single ant, workers form chains with their bodies by grasping one another’s petiole (waist). Multiple intricate chains working in unison are often used to ratchet together large leaves during nest construction. Once the edges of the leaves are drawn together, other workers retrieve larvae from existing nests using their mandibles. Upon reaching a seam to be joined, these workers tap the head of the clutched larvae, which causes them to excrete silk. They can only produce so much silk, so the larva will have to pupate without a cocoon. The workers then maneuver between the leaves in a highly coordinated fashion to bind them together.

weaver ants nest
weaver ants bridge
And with a healthy orchard in balance, the farmer can harvest the mangoes and some of the ant eggs, a delicacy in the region.

Watch more videos about ants and sustainable ideas, including green roofs, koi kitchen helpers, and 1,000 indian runner ducks.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

Love Food Hate Waste – Solutions for reducing food waste

Rion Nakaya

Flower-like Planthopper Nymphs spring away from harm

Rion Nakaya

The Goat Brigade: Preventing Wildfires in Southern California

Rion Nakaya

Pouring 1200F molten aluminum into an anthill?

Rion Nakaya

1,000 Indian Runner ducks are a smart alternative to pesticides

Rion Nakaya

Animals drinking water, captured by an underwater bucket cam

Rion Nakaya

Longhorn ‘Crazy Ants’ work erratically/cooperatively to carry loads

Rion Nakaya

Crow herding with urban falconry in Portland

Rion Nakaya

Growing 500 edible plants in a forest

Rion Nakaya

 
Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.

 

Subscribe