Aphids and Ants

The teeny and tiny caught my attention recently — the ants and aphids.

 They were on the porcelain vines scattered around the yard in places of dense vegetation. Porcelain and grape vines look just alike.

Notice the varying sizes of the aphids

Aphids feed on plant sap and excrete a sugary substance called honeydew. The ants go from aphid to aphid, collecting the liquid and storing it in their abdomen. When their abdomen is full, the ants take the honeydew back to their colony. Here it is transferred to honeypot ants and used feed to the ants during the winter.

Ants protect the aphids from predators, to protect their food source. The ants will move the aphids if their food source gets low. They will also take their eggs back to their colony for the winter, and then take the hatchlings back to a food source in the spring.

Winged adults

The activity between the ants and aphids was quite busy most of the time. That, plus their small size, I couldn’t tell exactly what activities I was watching.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on July 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    You AMAZE me! No other words…just amazed!

    Reply

  2. Incredible. So the ants are farmers, I guess?

    Reply

  3. Loooooots of aphids. Those are cool pictures!

    Reply

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