Broad Headed Bug Nymph

Subject: New Ant in Yard
Location: Rio Grande Valley, TX
July 16, 2013 2:31 pm
I live in South Texas (rio grande valley), and have noticed a colony of ants I have never seen before. They showed up in our garden (lots of mulch, cucumbers, sweet potato’s, papaya plants, banana plants, etc.), and have very distinct characteristics. They move very quick, I could swear I saw one jump, and their abdomens do an odd bouncing up and down when they approach another ant from their colony. It almost looks like they chase one another sometimes. Their antenna have a white tip, but they are otherwise black.
Signature: Brandon

Broad Headed Bug Nymph
Broad Headed Bug Nymph

Dear Brandon,
While this is not an Ant, it is a very convincing ant mimic.  We believe it is an immature Broad Headed Bug in the family Alydidae.  According to BugGuide:  “nymphs are often ant mimics” and they feed “primarily on Fabaceae (often on seeds).”  Do you have beans or peas in your garden?  Your photo is not very sharp and it might also be an immature Damsel Bug which is a predatory species.

Thanks for the response! After looking at google search photos I believe you are correct. That explains the peculiar behavior. I’d point out that it does look like a whole colony of them. Also the only seeds in this area are our sunflower plants. No beans or peas. Ill try and get a better resolution photo for you soon if they are still there. Thanks for your help.

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