Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 32 (2) June 2020, p. 211-218
INVESTIGATING THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF LITTLE FIRE ANT (LFA), Wasmania auropunctata (Roger) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) ON THE OIL PALM POLLINATING WEEVIL, Elaedobius kamerunicus FAUST. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) AND FIELD WORKER PRODUCTIVITY TIME
Published Online: 9 June 2020
The oil palm pollinating weevil (E. kamerunicus) is a million-dollar insect in the oil palm industry in terms of its role as the key pollinating agent. Any negative impact on the weevil population due to influence by either biotic or abiotic factors can potentially have dire consequences on palm oil production. The invasive Little Fire Ant (LFA), W. auropunctata was detected on oil palm blocks in West New Britain Province in 2012. Its invasion into the oil palm fields poses a potential risk to the weevil as it can feasibly prey on the immature stages. A study was necessary to investigate this risk. Hence, a research was instigated in 2016 and conducted over 13 months period to evaluate the potential impact on the weevil population as well as the worker productivity time (because of the pain normally inflicted on humans by the sting) in smallholder blocks of the Hoskins Oil Palm Industry Corporation (OPIC) project within the West New Britain Province. The results showed that LFA does not impact on the pollinating weevil population but does affect field worker productivity time. Study investigating the management options to circumvent LFA stings is proposed.KEYWORDS:
* Papua New Guinea Oil Palm Research Association,
Dami Oil Palm Research Station, P.O. Box 97, Kimbe,
West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.