These leaf cutter ants and can be referred to as "farmers" since they cultivate a fungus in chambers underneath the ground from leaves they have cut from various sources and subsist entirely on the cultivated fungus. This is one of the reasons why they are hard to manage because conventional bait products are not very effective. In the case of fire ant baits, the fire ant takes the bait into the mound where it is shared among the inhabitants. The Texas Leaf Cutter Ant is only affected by the bait through contact. There is still a challenge getting an active ingredient spread among the inhabitants of a leaf cutter ant colony.
Their colonies may be 30 to 40 foot below ground and it is not uncommon for them to extend several hundred feet and the area they forage within may be greater than 2 acres. Your landscape can be a source so watch out if they are in you area!
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ant with leaf|
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ants entering tunnel|
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ant Colony along road|
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ant presence affecting in integrity of road bed|
|Large Texas Leaf Cutter Ant colony|
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ant colony along edge of woods|
|Ground view of Texas Leaf Cutter Ant mounds|
|Texas Leaf Cutter Ant "Villa". Yes They do like lake front property|
If you are interested in more about The Texas Leaf Cutter Ant just do a search on Atta texana. A wealth of information will pop up.
I also began setting up plans for a long term fire ant management program for the Farm And Ranch Club off of Highway 6 in Houston. Finished a fire ant control study in La Marque, TX with Dr. Bart Drees (Professor and Extension Entomologist) and Phoenix Rogers, County Extension Agent - Agriculture (Galveston County) and aided in the initiation of a new trial evaluating new tools (sorry proprietary information) for the control of the fire ant. Whew! Doesn't leave much time for posting.
So I thought I would pass along a couple of eXtesnion.org Webinars on ants that were conducted earlier in the spring before I initiated this blog. Both of these ant sessions have been recorded for your convenience and are conducted by experts in the area of ants for you to view if you are interested. Click on this link to view the Fire Ant Control Made Easy session and this link Ants Driving You Crazy? to learn about a couple of other ant species. These are brought to you by eXtension.org and the Extension.org Imported Fire Ants Community of Practice.
Please register at the eXtension.org site. From the eXtension.org site: "eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the best land-grant university minds across America. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers - experts who know their subject matter inside out." Spend some time searching the site. There is a tremendous amount of information located there.