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

Subject:  I think these are eggs….
Geographic location of the bu:  Ontario Canada
Date: 12/24/2018
Time: 05:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, I have a vivarium for Poison Dart Frogs and found some small white nodules growing under a piece of wood. My hope is that this is some sort of fungus or mold. But my concern is that these are the eggs of some bug that could do harm to my frogs or their eggs.
The piece of wood was harvested many years ago from a forest in Ontario. I included a picture of the wood with suspicious object, as well as a picture of my cute frog!
Happy Holidays
How you want your letter signed:  Jason Kemp

Growth in Dart Frog Vivarium

Dear Jason,
These do not appear to be eggs, and we believe your suspicion that they might be fungus or mold is probably correct.  Friends of ours in the Los Angeles area formerly bred Poison Dart Frogs.  They had several pairs that bred in bromeliads, but alas, the vivariums were discovered by invasive Argentine Ants that killed the frogs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Big ant with provision for winter
Geographic location of the bug:  Tonasket WA
Date: 09/04/2018
Time: 10:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Amazing how much ants can carry. And I suspect this was light for it! Do ants paralyze their quarry, or would this one be dead?  I feel bad about the spider, but grateful the ants get to eat.
How you want your letter signed:  Cathy

Western Black Carpenter Ant with Spider

Dear Cathy,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are pretty certain your ant is a Western Black Carpenter Ant, and according to BugGuide: “Omnivorous – eat honeydew, sap, living and dead insects, etc. Do not eat wood, only nest in it, and usually only after fungi have softened it.”  That said, the curl to the Spider’s legs indicates it was probably dead before the Western Black Carpenter Ant discovered it.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  To identify flying insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Portland, Oregon
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 06:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found dozens of these inside the house today. I think they got in when we opened doors, but we’re not sure. They are just under 1/2″ long, brown, and appear to have a 3 section body with wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Is this carpenter ant, or something else?

Carpenter Ant Alate

This does appear to be a reproductive Carpenter Ant alate, and the wing veinage looks like that of this individual on BugGuide, so we believe you are correct.  If you found them in your house, we believe they probably swarmed from inside rather than entering from the outside.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Ants in LA
Geographic location of the bug:  West Hollywood Hills above Sunset Plaza
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 11:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  For 25 years, on the hotter days through summer, my home  was invaded by lines of ants (medium-sized black, perhaps Argentine) apparently seeking water. The past 2-3 years this has greatly diminished. This year, so far, despite (or perhaps because of) record heat, all I’ve seen are two tiny black ants.  Is this phenomenon widespread in LA?
How you want your letter signed:  Keith

No Argentine Ants

Hi Keith,
Our jealously has no bounds.  First, we are almost certain the Ants in question are Argentine Ants.  Have you moved to drought tolerant landscaping recently?  Argentine Ants cannot survive without water, and the reason they invade homes during the heat of summer is for both food and water.  Unlike you, we had two Argentine Ant invasions in our own offices just yesterday with 1000s of Ants swarming the cat food.  Our Mount Washington neighborhood is not as lucky as your West Hollywood digs this year, and in talking to our neighbors, they are also experiencing a higher incident of Ant home invasions this year.

Argentine Ants invading WTB? offices


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Red Harvester Ants?
Geographic location of the bug:  Stephenville, TX
Date: 08/01/2018
Time: 01:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman —
Hello! I hope you are both well!
I see that you’ve discovered a harvester ant colony, that’s awesome. I also discovered what I believe to be a red-harvester-ant colony in north Texas,  in mid May 2018. Alas, the ant bed is located on the edge of a playground, not good. Warm, windy, dry weather. I found a reference:
I was intrigued by the ants’ use of wood; are they actually shoring up their tunnels, like tiny miners reinforcing their mine? One ant carried what looked like a bird dropping. Mysterious creatures, sadly they are increasingly rare here.
Best wishes!
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Harvester Ant carrying more than its weight

Hi Ellen,
Are you the very same Ellen with the great garden in Coryell County?  Alas, that great garden that attracts so many native insects does require irrigation, and you will not find Harvester Ants in areas with irrigation.  Daniel has known about the colony of California Harvester Ants several vacant lots away from the WTB? offices since 1995, even before WTB? was a column in the photocopied zine American Homebody, during the time Daniel was renting a house across from the vacant lots.  At that time there were many more vacant lots and the Ants were often found foraging in the road, but as available housing in Los Angeles becomes more difficult to find, more and more previously unbuildable lots are being developed, and with development comes irrigation.  With irrigation come the invasive Argentine Ants that need the water, and much like gentrification, the Argentine Ants will force out the previous inhabitants, including the California Harvester Ants which are drought tolerant.  That is why Harvester Ants are rare in urban environments that lack natural open space.  Daniel has decided to try to get the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to purchase some of those vacant lots just to preserve the Harvester Ant colony along with other creatures that will most likely not survive additional development with landscaping.  Your images are wonderful.  We hope some bug-phobic parents don’t insist that the colony be exterminated because of a child being stung by a Harvester Ant near the playground.  We believe Harvester Ants do blockade their tunnels during the rainy season.    

Harvester Ant Colony

Thank you for the reply! Yes, I live in Coryell County and was visiting Stephenville when I saw the harvester ants. Such fascinating insects. Best wishes in preserving the undeveloped lots.

Harvester Ant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

California Harvester Ants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  July 19, 2018
Time:  8:15 AM
We suspect none of our readers will be as excited about this posting as we are, but we are happy to report that the colony of California Harvester Ants that has been living on a south facing slope in Mount Washington is still present, though perhaps not for long as every available lot in the neighborhood seems to have a “Notice of Intent” sign for a new construction project.  California Harvester Ants are naturally adapted to our Southern California climate and they do not need irrigation to survive, but alas, garden landscaping is responsible for the spread of that scourge, the Argentine Ant, and they have displaced our native Ant species in much of urban Los Angeles.

California Harvester Ant

We also located what we believe to be the back door to the colony right at the edge of the street.

California Harvester Ants at colony entrance


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination