Friday, June 15, 2012

Ants, ants, and more ants!

This has been a busy week for me where ants are concerned.  I have been working on a study for the management of the Texas Leaf Cutter Ant (Atta texana) with products from BASF (more on this in future postings) but for the short term I will post some pictures of these interesting ants. 

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 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 and the  Imported Fire Ants Community of Practice

Please register at the site.  From the 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.


  1. Thanks for your suggestion well written article with lot of helpful information about Ant.Though i hate Ant instead i use insecticide.My home page
    bed bug extermination

    1. I also dislike ants. They are tiny in size but dangerous in nature. They can destroy lots of property within a short period. By the way, thanks for sharing this useful article about ant control.