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Impacto da queima controlada da cana-de-acucar na nidificacao e estabelecimento de colonias de Atta bisphaerica Forel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Araujo, M.S., Della Lucia, T.M.C., Ribeiro, G.A., Kasuya, M.C.M.
Neotropical entomology 2003 v.32 no.4 pp. 685-691
Atta, leaf-cutting ants, nesting, insect behavior, females, insect pests, plant pests, Saccharum officinarum, sugarcane, host plants, agricultural soils, burning, fires, soil chemical properties, soil organic matter, soil physical properties, soil penetration resistance, soil microorganisms, insect control, integrated pest management, Brazil
Even low intensity fires may often modify the chemical, physical and microbiological properties of the soil, in the depth where leaf-cutting ants Atta Fabricius establish their nests. Considering that nest foundation and establishment are the most crucial steps in a colony life cycle, this research investigated the implication that a controlled 615 kJ.m-1s-1 fire intensity of sugar cane dry foliage have on the nesting of Atta bisphaerica Forel. Burning eliminated organic matter from the soil surface; this resulted in a significant increase on its density down to a depth of 15 cm. The elimination of vegetation by fire also increased soil resistance to penetration. These alterations on physical properties had no significant effect on the depth of initial A. bisphaerica chambers under field and laboratory conditions. Burnings did affect soil chemical and microbiological properties. A. bisphaerica females looked for sites which had been burned to establish their colonies in the field. Under laboratory conditions, the mortality of colonies was higher in soil originating from burned areas than unburned ones.