Past and Current Strategies for the Control of Leaf-Cutting Ants in Brazil

  • Terezinha Maria Castro Della LuciaEmail author
  • Karina Dias Amaral


Leaf-cutting ants (Atta and Acromyrmex) are serious pests of forest trees and agricultural crops in Brazil and in other Latin American countries. Losses from the damage caused by leaf-cutting ants are considerable, and the costs incurred from ant control strategies are high. In this chapter, we present an overall view of the state of the art in leaf-cutting ant control tactics in Brazil. For more than 518 years, leaf cutters have represented a serious problem in the country, and the most amazing techniques have been used for their control, from highly toxic homemade preparations containing arsenicals and chlorine to crude plant extracts. Fortunately, concern for the environment has guided research on new control methods. Selective products with few active ingredients at low concentrations are currently used, and new alternatives are being investigated. Nonetheless, the control of leaf-cutting ants remains a challenge because of the peculiarities of these pests.


Atta Acromyrmex Pest management Control tactics Forest health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terezinha Maria Castro Della Lucia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karina Dias Amaral
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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