Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I hate cutter ants

Hello, everyone.

Yesterday I found my baby orange tree being attacked by a whole parade of cutter ants. (These horrid things are the same ants you get if you send off for ants for your child's ant farm.) A busy little line of green leaf chunks was floating across the yard to the cargo entrance door of the ant colony.

Why do I say cargo entrance door? Because this entrance, while it's convenient for the ants taking leaves to their underground fungus gardens, is nowhere near the main entrance(s) of the colony. This is just a bare hold in the ground, about as big across as an adult finger, surrounded by the leaves the ants drop if they get confused about the entry process. The main entrance is a mound of biggish dirt granules that is often on slightly raised ground. They seem to like higher ground for their main doors, even before they raise the level with the excavated dirt.

The likelihood that a particular plant is going to be their absolute favorite fungus food is directly related to how much you, personally, like that plant. Roses? Yum. Oranges, grapefruit, and lemons? Yum. Pecans? Yum. On the more vegetable side, okra is a hit. Perhaps it tastes like hibiscus leaves.

Nothing seems to eat these darned ants, either. Though I'm trying to teach my birds to go at them.

Mr. and Mrs. Guinea on patrol for ants
After all, the ant has an acid gland. It should taste like a crunchy sour pickle, right?