Leaves are weaved together with a white paperish substance forming the ant nest. It can be as big as a fist or a human head. Aphids and scales might be present near the nests. They are best known for their remarkable nest construction. Weaver ants create very strong ant chains by linking legs to pull and bend leaves into desired tent like positions, using precise coordination. The ants then use their own larvae to secrete a silk that is used by the leaves together to create a nest. Several nests may dominate a tree at once.
The symptoms are caused by weaver ants, Oecophylla smaragdina. Their name is due to the green coloration of their queens. These ants are often used as biocontrol agents against other pests, eating small insects or arthropods. Since they live in a mutual relationship with aphids and scales to feed on the honeydew it can cause indirect damage. Their colonies can be as big as half a million ants, worker ants are either 5-6 mm or 8-10 mm big and orange in color. The nests are built during the night with the help of the silk producing larvae. Weaver ants are common in tropical climates of Asia, Australia, and the Western Pacific. Stings of Oecophylla smaragdina are painful. Weaver ants are typically around 20-25mm. They are normally greenish brown. They are very aggressive territorial ants and they have been used to control agricultural pests over the years. Weaver ants have a vice like grip and tremendous strength.
Natural predators like Agama agama, Geocoris ochropterus, Niphopyrallis chionesis and parasitoids like Smicromorpha keralensis help manage the pest population. Bacillus thuringiensis has been successful in reducing the pest incident.
Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Spray contact insecticides as dimethoate 1.5 ml/l after disturbing the nest. Chemical spray should be intended to remove nests as the weaver ant is a bio agent.