Category: ants

ottermatopoeia:

eric-coldfire:

mister-christmas:

silent-wordsmith:

lazorsandparadox:

the-whovian-down-baker-street:

kuroba101:

mediocre-latinist:

ants-are-fascinating:

When ants die, a few days later they emit oleic acid, which tells the living ants to dispose of their corpse.

A myrmecologist named Ed Wilson discovered this and dropped the chemical on a living ant. It was immediately carried off, despite the fact that it was still moving, and clearly not dead.

“I’M GETTING BETTER”

Bring out your dead. Eh, close enough.

IM NOT YET DEAD SIR

You left out the part where the ant, believing HERSELF to be dead, stayed in self imposed exile in the ant graveyard until the acid wore off and she realized she was not supposed to be in the ant graveyard.

@finite-experience, this seems like the sort of thing you’d like to see

Ant 1: To the ant graveyard with you

Ant 2: But I’m not dead

Ant 1: You smell dead

Ant 2: Fair enough

Ant 1: “I thought you were dead.”

Ant 2, after acid wears off: “I got better.”

Ant 2, returning to the colony: i lived bitch

I need to dig through a massive pile of old cell phone pictures, but back in 2015, some ants (which I never uploaded to iNat because I hadn’t started using it yet!) were using my apartment as their graveyard. They snuck in through a crack in my window, and dropped their fallen sisters off the edge of my windowsill… onto my desk. I had a pile of dead ants all over my computer. I caught them doing it, too! [link to crappy old video on twitter]

August 12, 2019

nanonaturalist:

So the thing with fire ants is, you build up a tolerance to the venom. When I was mowing the front lawn (and pulling up Saint Augustine, which I hate), I disturbed a mound. Eh, whatever. That’s why I double up on the gloves. Some managed to get on the sleeve of my shirt, and one had crawled inside. I wasn’t sure if she’d stung me or not. 

A couple hours later, a spot on my arm started itching. I thought I had a mosquito bite. The bump was the right size. 

When the bite started to hurt a little when I scratched it, oh boy, yup, fire ant got me. She was a bigger one, too. I guess that explains how massive her gift to me is. 

Keep in mind: getting one fire ant sting is not usually how it goes. I had a coworker who gardened in shorts and showed up with hundreds of stings completely covering his shins after a weekend. Imagine if I hadn’t been wearing two pairs of gloves and long sleeves, and hundreds of ants covered my arms in these things! 

So yeah, fire ants. If you don’t have them, be thankful, and if you do have them, be careful! 

July 11, 2019

Oh lord how is it still getting worse

My entire arm is swollen

Size of a baseball? I don’t know sports??

The ITCHING

I practically emptied a tube of hydrocortisone on it (hyperbole)

Maybe now I can sleep?

June 12, 2019, 4:30 am

So the thing with fire ants is, you build up a tolerance to the venom. When I was mowing the front lawn (and pulling up Saint Augustine, which I hate), I disturbed a mound. Eh, whatever. That’s why I double up on the gloves. Some managed to get on the sleeve of my shirt, and one had crawled inside. I wasn’t sure if she’d stung me or not. 

A couple hours later, a spot on my arm started itching. I thought I had a mosquito bite. The bump was the right size. 

When the bite started to hurt a little when I scratched it, oh boy, yup, fire ant got me. She was a bigger one, too. I guess that explains how massive her gift to me is. 

Keep in mind: getting one fire ant sting is not usually how it goes. I had a coworker who gardened in shorts and showed up with hundreds of stings completely covering his shins after a weekend. Imagine if I hadn’t been wearing two pairs of gloves and long sleeves, and hundreds of ants covered my arms in these things! 

So yeah, fire ants. If you don’t have them, be thankful, and if you do have them, be careful! 

July 11, 2019

Holy carp, check out this anthill posted on iNaturalist [link]—it shows the earthquake in southern California this weekend displaced the earth by a foot in this area.

July 8, 2019

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Feb 19, 2017, Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory, Austin TX 

Texas leaf-cutter ants. There were so many of them that they have carved out their own trail and I could hear them cutting the leaves. Leaf-cutter ants use these leaves to grow the fungus they cultivate for food.

Learn more about Texas Leaf-cutter Ants [link]

Texas is full of leafcutter ants and they’re amazing.

Reposted July 4, 2019

@jabercoll My guess is they made their nest (the nests are MASSIVELY HUGE), but then they have to find leaves from whatever plant their fungus will eat, which may or may not be nearby depending on the season. It could be there is a nice bush right next to the nest, but there isn’t a huge trail to it because they don’t go to it in an organized line.

In Texas, we do have a few evergreens, though I’m not sure if the leaves they are carrying is one of them. One winter, I saw a nest near a juniper, and they had used the opening of the nest as a ramp, which they just… rolled a bunch of juniper berries into??? It was hilarious. But! The opening of this nest was not near any leafy tree… so, priorities, I guess!

Leaf-cutter Berry Ants, above

The ants also have to consider predators and competition in where they place their nests. Too close to the trees, and their nest is vulnerable to their tree-dwelling predators, and falling leaves and branches can block the entrance to their nest as well.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s a reason, even if I don’t know what it is! Anybody in antblr, feel free to chime in!

July 4, 2019

nanonaturalist:

Feb 19, 2017, Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory, Austin TX 

Texas leaf-cutter ants. There were so many of them that they have carved out their own trail and I could hear them cutting the leaves. Leaf-cutter ants use these leaves to grow the fungus they cultivate for food.

Learn more about Texas Leaf-cutter Ants [link]

Texas is full of leafcutter ants and they’re amazing.

Reposted July 4, 2019

Maybe you can find the queen in all that mess and, well. I don't wanna say squish but needs does as the devil drives and all that.

The wonderful and magical thing about Solenopsis invicta, the Red Imported Fire Ants, is they come in two different flavors: single queen colonies, and multiple queen colonies.

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension puts it pretty well [link to their Fire Ant FAQ]:

Multiple queen (polygyne form): more than one and up to hundreds of unrelated queens per colony; smaller average worker ants; worker ants move freely from one mound to another and share resources; mound densities greater than 300 mound per acre; more ants per acre.

GUESS WHICH FORM MY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS?!

Every time I post anything about fire ants, I get all sorts of suggestions for how to deal with them from people who do not live on former farmland in Texas. Folks, my entire yard is fire ants. If I dig a random hole anywhere in my yard, I will hit a fire ant nest. My entire neighborhood is like this, I asked my neighbors

I will say, by establishing a healthy ecosystem in my yard (and by NOT WATERING A LAWN), the fire ants actually have to compete with some of the native ants, and they have been driven out of some areas by native species, so my fire ant problem is not nearly as bad as it was a few years ago.

Also, the ants in the photos I posted are safely tucked away in the freezer. It’s the only way to safely get them out of the hand vac. I guess I may as well put the pupae in alcohol. Fire ants are one of the few bugs I do not feel bad about killing (well… maybe a little, but I still have scars on my hand from the Cat Food Incident three years ago, the first time they invaded my house, so… I said this was war).

June 29, 2019

Hi! Ever since I’ve started adding new flowers and water sources to my yard, I’ve noticed different wasps hanging around. Is it good that they’re there? What are those guys doing? (Sorry I don’t know much about what they do, I was on the wasp hate team until recently)

Hello! This is a great question! I think most people don’t know much about what wasps do, and even I didn’t know much about them until just a few years ago. They are generally up to one of four things! Pollinating (they are vegetarians just like bees!), drinking water, collecting nesting materials (mud, dried grasses), or hunting insects/spiders to feed their larvae! A fifth thing they may be doing: just hanging out!

Below are some wasps I’ve seen (and photographed) around Texas in the past few years. Most of them have been in my yard near Austin!

Pollinating/Eating

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Spider Wasp (a large male!) enjoying some flowers at Lake Travis, Austin, TX

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A Eumenes sp. Potter Wasp pollinating some wildflowers in Williamson County, TX

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A lovely Scoliid wasp in east Texas (near Beaumont)

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A Blue-winged Scoliid Wasp in Keller, TX

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An Apache Wasp enjoying some old fruit I left out in my yard (it went bad and I thought the bugs would like it–they did!)

Drinking Water

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They get thirsty, too! And they also need the water to help build their nests. They can float on the water!
Left: Apache Wasp in San Marcos, TX; Right, Guinea Paper Wasp in my yard

Collecting Nesting Materials

This one is interesting, because you may not realize this is what the wasp is doing!

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Paper wasps build their nests from… well, paper fiber. They collect dried fibrous material, like dried grasses or tree bark, and use that to make their nests. But, if you have dry wood in your yard, like my fence, you may notice paper wasps standing on them. If you look closely, you may notice them… chewing on your fence. Guess what they’re doing! Your fence is becoming their nest! If you see a wasp resting on dried grasses or dead leaves, they may be collecting the fibers for their nests.
Above photos are Apache and Guinea Paper Wasps from my yard.

But not all wasps make paper nests!

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Do you have strange tubes show up on the side of your house? Do you see wasps digging around in the mud? These may be mud dauber wasps, solitary wasps who lay their eggs in little tubes made out of mud. There are lots of different types of these wasps, and they all make different shape nests. This one is the Yellow-legged Mud Dauber, and I have lots of them. The best part, is after their nests are empty, they stick around for long enough that solitary bees will show up and use them! Also, I have solitary bees using abandoned paper wasp nests too, so by supporting your wasps, you are also supporting your native bees!
Above photos are from Bastrop, TX (top two) and my yard (bottom two)

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Some wasps will dig their nests in the ground, so they don’t collect nesting material, but if you see strange little holes in the ground, they could be solitary wasps! This is a Thread-waisted Sand Wasp (Ammophila sp.) from Seminole Canyon State Park in Val Verde County, TX

Hunting to Feed Their Larvae

Babies are HUNGRY! 

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While adult wasps are 100% vegetarian, their babies need to eat high energy, high protein foods to grow up–this means other insects or spiders. So if you see wasps flying around your yard, walking around on plants, and you’re not really sure what they’re doing, they may be hunting!

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These photos are of a Guinea Paper Wasp nest and lady at my house. The lady is hunting caterpillars–she is on a passion vine plant, which had a ton of Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars, very healthy meals for growing wasp children! It was very interesting to watch her carefully walk around the plant. I never saw her catch anything, mostly because they were so good at hunting caterpillars that there never were any left!

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Gulf Fritillary caterpillars, delicious. If you are a gardener, and you don’t want your plants to get destroyed by caterpillars, guess what? Paper wasps are your friends! Once I had a healthy population of paper wasp colonies in my yard, I essentially never found a full-grown caterpillar in my yard. If I wanted to raise caterpillars, I had to find the eggs and bring them inside!

Just Hanging Out

Why do they have to be doing anything? Sometimes they just want to chill.

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Flower wasp in my yard

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Sand-loving Wasp (Tachytes sp.) on the side of my house

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A Square-headed Wasp (Subfamily Crabroninae) living in the hollow stem of a dead milkweed in my garden.

I hope that helps solve some Wasp Mysteries, and welcome to Team Wasps Are Actually Pretty Neat!

May 29, 2019

birdandmoon:

New comic: two butts and a lie.

This comic is based on the work of Christoph von Beeren and Daniel Kronauer. Von
Beeren even named the beetle after Kronauer: it’s Nymphister kronaueri!
Best honor ever. Plus an army ant, Eciton burchellii. Read more here.

Thanks to my friend Alex Wild for taking many of my photo references and looking at this before I posted it!

nanofishology:

Walking around UT campus at night hitting up the pokestops because I ran out of balls, I did a double take when I saw what looked like a sentient cicada wing crawling down the walkway.

It was ants! A group of ants were working together to transport this wing to their queen… for… reasons? Maybe they’re building a flying machine?

animate… inanimate objects

2016, Septemberish