Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: a recording of the voice of a leafcutter ant
Location: Eagle Pass, TX
September 18, 2016 1:27 pm
Dear bugman,
Years ago I caught a very large leafcutter soldier ant, and temporarily put her inside a tiny transparent plastic box for an SD card. The box was barely big enough for the enormous ant, so small that if you pressed your finger down on the box, it would cause discomfort to the ant. I noticed what seemed to be noise coming from the ant when it experienced this discomfort, so I got a digital microphone and set it over the edge of the SD card box (so that the stronger edge would support its weight and not press on the ant), then squeezed the ant a little bit with my finger, just enough to get a reaction (I am sorry, but I did it for science, the ant was not harmed at all but it did go through an annoying time for a few seconds). I converted the recording to an mp3, which you can download below. I thought you might be interested in hearing this. I had no idea ants had a voice!
http://img.2yr.net/leafcutter_ant.mp3
Signature: Humberto

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Dear Humberto,
Thanks for sending in both your excellent images of a Texas Leaf Cutting Ant or Leafcutter Ant,
Atta texana, as well as your marvelous sound recording.  According to BugGuide:  “In Texas these ants damage weeds, grasses, plum and peach trees, blackberry bushes and many other fruit, nut and ornamental plants as well as several cereal and forage crops. The ants do not eat the leaf fragments they collect, but take them into their underground nest where they use the material to raise a fungus garden. As the fungus grows, certain parts of it are eaten by the ants and fed to the larvae. This fungus is their only known source of food.  Leaf cutting ants will attack pine trees but ordinarily they do little damage when other green plants are available. During the winter when green plant material is scarce, seedling pines are frequently damaged in parts of east Texas and west central Louisiana. Where ants are abundant, it is almost impossible to establish natural pine reproduction. In such sites, young pine seedlings often are destroyed within a few days unless the ants are controlled before planting.”

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Texas Leaf Cutting Ant

Thank you, Mr. Marlos! I am happy to contribute the images and audio to your website. J
Cheers!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ant issue
Location: Austin tx
August 28, 2016 6:15 am
Hey ! I’ve had these ants come and go thru the summer more so during the high heat…they’re small but quite a few I can’t find where they are getting in from or what exactly it will take to get rid of them…I’ve tried spay and traps and gel they leave for a bit then come back thought you could help
Thanks
Signature: Rachel

Possibly Argentine Ant

Possibly Argentine Ant

Dear Rachel,
Your Ant looks and sounds like it might be the invasive Argentine Ant,
Linepithema humile, and even though BugGuide does not list any sightings in Texas, BugGuide does provide this range information:  “across southern United States (from North Carolina to Florida, west through the gulf states to the coast of California. The only limit to their range is freezing temperatures and lack of water.”  BugGuide also indicates:  “Will often invade homes when weather outside is too cold, too wet or too dry, so may be more obvious at some times than others.”  Our Los Angeles office has been plagued by Argentine Ants for years, and we would love to find an eco-friendly means of control, and though we do not normally provide extermination advice, all bets are off when it comes to invasive species, and the Argentine Ant is at the top of the list of scourges we would like to eliminate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Invasive Argentine Ants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 27, 2016
Dating back to our relocation to Los Angeles in 1980, the editorial staff of What’s That Bug? has been plagued by colonies of invasive Argentine Ants, Iridomyrmex humilis.  If we had the time to devote ourselves to the elimination of one invasive species in California, it would be the Argentine Ant.  They are a pervasive pest species that we have always believed are the same Ants that play such an important role in the magnificent 20th Century novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez when they carry off a newborn baby.  Argentine Ants are most troublesome in the summer, during the hottest days when they enter homes to find water, but swarm around cat food, any sweets or fatty foods left out, or any dead bugs that ended their lives as cat toys.  We believe they are one of the biggest threats to native species wherever they proliferate.  According to Clemson University:  “Argentine ants are not native to the United States.  They were introduced to the US probably on coffee ships from Brazil and Argentina through the port of New Orleans sometime before 1891. They spread rapidly on commercial shipments of plants and other materials.  Now Argentine ants are found throughout most of the southern states and California, with isolated infestations in a few other areas.  Argentine ants have been very successful.  They are common in urban areas and can nest in diverse types of habitats. They can produce large numbers of offspring and survive on a wide variety of food. They often live on friendly terms with other neighboring colonies of the same species, but may eliminate some other ant species.”  Argentine Ants farm Aphids and move them from plant to plant.  We have also found Argentine Ants associated with other pestiferous Hemipterans that secrete honeydew.  We would love to hear any control methods our readers can provide.  Wayne’s Word also has some interesting information, including:  “Best Method Of Argentine Ant Eradication  Place outdoor ant bait stations such as Terro® along major ant trails in your yard. This is probably better than using insecticidal sprays. Smaller, indoor bait stations are also effective placed along ant trails in your home (out of the reach of children and pets). The active ingredients of Terro® is 5.40 percent sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax) which is lethal to ants. This salt upsets their digestive system and causes death due to dehydration and starvation. According to Jonathan Hatch (“How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants” ), dehydration and recrystallization of the ‘boric acic’ (borax?) lacerates the digestive system of ants and their larvae. There are many recipes on the Internet that include mixing borax with a sugary solution. Terro bait stations contain this mixture in convenient disposable plastic trays. It is important for the ants to carry the liquid back to their nest. Borax recipes only contain about 5 percent borax so that ants are not killed immediately. One tablespoon of borax in a cup of water is approximately a 5% solution. You must be patient–this treatment may take several days to a week. In fact, you may need to replenish you bait stations! Some websites state that boric acid is a more effective ant insecticide, but this is debatable. Boric acid is made by reacting borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) with an inorganic acid, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl).”

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

WE cannot say for certain if the Argentine Ants played a role in the death of this Orbweaver, but since Orbweavers are somewhat helpless when they are not in their webs, it is possible that this large spider was overcome by marauding Argentine Ants and killed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants
Location:  Tucson, Arizona
August 2, 2016
And Daniel, since you don’t follow me on Facebook, I thought you’d enjoy this little video and photo of Arizona leaf-cutter ants (Acromyrmex versicolor) swarming and mating in my yard yesterday.
Julian

Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants

Mating Leaf-Cutter Ants

Thanks for the great image Julian.  According to BugGuide:  “The ants cut and collected both dry and green vegetation with dry grasses comprising the bulk of the forage. The ants increased their cutting of green vegetation after significant rainfall but collected dry grasses almost exclusively during dry periods.” 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bullet Ant
Location: La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica
July 23, 2016 12:14 am
Hi Bugman,
Thank you so much for your speedy identification of my robber fly. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to get a species ID (especially without the specimen itself and with only one photo) but it’s great knowing the order. Here is the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) photo I mentioned before, also taken with my Canon macro lens. It was a difficult shot to get as these ants are constantly on the move. I am also submitting (separately) photos of a Weevil found in Monteverde and what I suspect to be a caterpillar in the genus Eumorpha.
Signature: Casey

Bullet Ant

Bullet Ant

Dear Casey,
We have one image of a Bullet Ant from Ecuador in our archive, and at that time we did some research to learn more about
Paraponera clavata.  Your backlit image is really beautiful. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Update:  June 17, 2016
We’re Back.

Subject:  We’re posting this image of a dead Ten Lined June Beetle being devoured by Argentine Ants and leaving town
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California

June 8, 2016 1:08 AM
Upon leaving the house this afternoon, we moved the garbage to the curb and discovered this dead Ten Lined June Beetle under the recycle bin.  We placed it on the fence so we could take an image upon returning.  Since it was dark, we needed to use the flash.  The beetle is being devoured by invasive Argentine Ants.  This is only the second Ten Lined June Beetle we have found in Mount Washington, and it is just shy of a year ago that we had the first Ten Lined June Beetle visit our office.  This is most likely our last posting prior to taking a week long holiday, during which time we will not be answering any identification requests.  We have postdated numerous submissions to go live during our absence.  We will return in mid-June, so kindly hold your requests until after June 17.

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

Ten Lined June Beetle devoured by Argentine Ants

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination