by Santosh Rajus – A walk along the woods or small patches of tree covers would have definitely led you to this mighty warrior. They climb trees of great heights, pin Beetles down, catch Fig Wasps in the air, ride Dragon Flies, herd Aphids, raid Bee Hives and make humans run for their life. Yes, they are the mighty Weaver Ants! Observing them in the coffee plantation has made me fall in love with them; they build their nest using the tree leaves at varying heights during different seasons and go around raiding host plants as well as any nearby plants in search of food. They are always on a mission; to try and keep things in control (just like a farmer).
The sad part is that even after observing them doing so much great work in taking care of the plants, they are still considered as a pest in the coffee plantations, as they make the lives of the farmer difficult during harvest season. You can hardly see any nests of the weaver ant on the Arabica variety coffee plants. Chemicals are sprayed to keep away these natural farmers and thus making us lose out on the great knowledge and wisdom they have to keep things in control and to protect the trees they live in. Several places have realized the importance of the role these Weaver Ants play in controlling other pests, and have therefore stopped using pesticides to get rid of them. I hope this would change in coffee plantations as well. Every insect might be playing a keen role and we need to think before getting rid of them. We took away their home but still they managed to survive! Let’s not forget the great warriors of this land!