Botanical Garden imports poison dart frog to tackle ant plague

Summary

Meise’s Botanic Garden is taking on its pests with a tiny predator shipped in from Colombia

Natural pest control

The Botanic Garden Meise has introduced 40 poison dart frogs (Dendrobates truncatus) to tackle a plague of ants that are damaging plants.

The frogs measure only 25 to 30 millimetres in length and are nocturnal, thus are likely to go unnoticed by visitors to the gardens just outside of Brussels. The frogs (pictured) are native to Central and South America; these come from a sustainable breeder in Colombia. Aside from the ant population, the frogs will also take care of any other small pests attacking the plants.

The poison dart frog is only poisonous because it eats poisonous insects, and has been traditionally used to poison the tips of arrows of local tribes. However, the frogs will not find such snacks in Meise.

Photo: Freetoast/Wikimedia

Botanic Garden Meise

Located just outside Brussels in Meise, Flemish Brabant, the Botanic Garden Meise is one of the 10 most diverse botanical gardens in the world and one of the largest greenhouse complexes in Europe. Its history goes back to 1788.
Supervision - Starting in 2014, the administration of the formerly national garden was taken over by the Flemish region. The new Flemish government agency Agenstschap Plantentuin Meise is responsible for the garden.
Disrepair - Because of historical disagreements over which Belgian government would pay for repairs and upkeep of the garden, some of its terrains and facilities have famously fallen into disrepair. The cost of the major repair works has been estimated at €71 million.
Research - With a library of its own and one of the world’s largest herbaria, the gardens also include a research institution for tropical and European botany.
13

interconnecting greenhouses

92

surface area of garden in hectares

18 000

plant varieties