Posts Tagged ‘ants’

Interesting Ants

I’ve been redesigning my reflexology stone path recently, and have spent a lot of time sitting near the catalpa tree in my special place.

During all this, I noticed ants on two exposed roots, and going up and down the tree.

IMG_8898

Why? What’s up there for the ants?

I started to remove the seeds from a pod so I could remove the papery covering down to the actual seed. A silky web covered what I thought at first was an egg mass.

IMG_8898 crop

Cropping showed they were larval cocoons. They’re like eggs only much larger.

I have a new book: Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney.

IMG_9015

The larval cocoons were gone the next morning. I wasn’t sure, but it looked like a predator found them.

IMG_9015 crop

The small form on the left looked like a larva.

At least I solved the mystery of why the ants hurried up and down the catalpa tree.

Ant Tower

Strange things often get/grab my attention.

IMG_4392 red

I was just walking around the yard with Buffy one morning and stopped to look over the prairie dock situation. Apparently it spreads by underground runners. Two now grow in my sedum patch. Being a prairie plant usually means having a deep root system.

IMG_4684 red

Anyway, while looking the situation over, I spotted ant activity at the top where I cut off last year’s flower stalk.

IMG_4412 red

The remnants of the dried flower stalk stood 20 inches tall. It was over 15 feet when I cut it in the fall.

IMG_4384 crop red

Tiny black ants came out the holes in the top, walked about and went back down in. None went down the outside of the stalk. Their size made it difficult to see exactly what they were doing.

IMG_4469 red

I found out the next morning.  Notice all the tiny white specks on the leaf stalks — that was what the ants brought up and dropped the tiny pieces over the side as they excavated their     “ant tower.”

Happy 5th Birthday, Jaxson

Jaxson was home today for Easter break and came to my house while my son worked on a problem in our yard.

IMG_5903 red

He helped Davis by making boy “engine” noises. Then he and I went on a nature hike around the backyard so Davis could get the work done.

IMG_5917 crop red

I don’t remember what we were looking for. After hearing strange movement, I located a garter snake. It was my first snake of the year.

IMG_5925 red

What can I say!

IMG_5939 crop red

The snails were taking advantage of the sun’s warmth in the water garden.

IMG_5927 crop red

We found lots of roly polys, slugs, and ants under rocks we turned over.

We came in the house to look at the pictures I’d taken. He made it to the computer chair, “Fox!”

IMG_5933 crop red

The card wasn’t in my camera. The fox looked around. We couldn’t move, even though it was in the back back of the yard. I managed to snap 2 pictures before it trotted out of the yard.

The birthday boy stayed excited for quite a while after that.

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.