Ant caught 'red handed'

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Darren 7 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #15030

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    This afternoon out in the shade house I was checking one of my potted nettles to see if any yellow admiral eggs had hatched. Well the tiny larvae were just emerging, and as I watched I noticed an ant making haste down the stem with a newly emerged caterpillar clenched in its mandibles, needless to say it went no further. I had always suspected ants took the small larvae but this was the first time I had seen proof, so I will be finding the ants nest and laying bait!

    Yet another predator to add to the long list, little wonder that less than 10% of lepidoptera eggs survive to adult stage in the wild, and the reason they lay so many.

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  • #28689

    Darren
    Participant

    Like wasps, ant colonies can change their preferences for protein or carbohydrates depending on the colonies’ needs. My understanding is Borax is good against white footed house ants, but not so good against the new Argentine ants.

    More info here:
    http://argentineants.landcareresearch.co.nz/control_tools.asp

    #28674

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Thanks for your tip Norm and now Al will kill me for using his peanut butter! LOL

    #28669

    Jane
    Participant

    Yes thanks for reminding me of borax Norm. We have thousands of ants here, and last year I put out some gel-bait from a tube, but there ants cleared it away in no time and after several reapplications from the tube and more and more ants coming, I got sick of putting out bits, so I took the lid of the tube and put the whole thing out. The ants cleaned it out in a few days and by this stage were coming in their thousands! Pete and I joked that we thought they were coming from Levin!! I’ll try the borax, and I agree that the protein source/peanut butter option makes sense.

    #28663

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Pleased you’ve shared this, Norm, as I have just set up a butterfly house and know that there are ants all around there. So I’ll be laying out your baits too.

    #28659

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Jane,
    I laid my ant bait ouside the shade house where the ants were tracking and have not seen any ant movement in the shade house for a couple of days. Two types were put out, one of honey and borax and the other of peanut butter and borax. A few years back a researcher at Massey University in Palmerston North found that two types of ants were predominant in Palmerston North, one species preferred sweet food and the other species preferred protein. Back then I was able to identify each of the species but now have lost the information as to which one prefers which, so it was just as easy to put out both types. Turned out to be the protein bait for these ones, which I guess makes sense as the caterpillars are a protein source. The bait is easy to make up, equal parts of borax (available from a chemist) and p/butter or honey, and it is a sure fire ant exterminator.

    #28657

    Jane
    Participant

    Norm – did you get rid of the ants? I see Rob has the same problem in his shadehouse too :/

    #28639

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks Norm for alerting us to watch out for Ants. I’m sure they have taken off with some of mine, now that I think of it.
    It makes seeing a butterfly flying around in the garden even more of a miracle knowing it has survived all these obstacles!

    #28630

    Charlotte
    Participant

    I would say so Carol. We’ve seen the ants carrying off little caterpillars.
    That is why we pick the eggs and raise indoors in containers;-)

    #28628

    carols
    Participant

    After reading this, I’m now wondering if the ants are responsible for the lack of Monarch eggs/larvae on my swan plants??

    #28625

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Oh the bugga Norm! I hope you squished the ant beyond recognition. LOL

    I know what you mean we have to protect the caterpillars from many predators;-(

    #28623

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Wow! Good spotting Norm.

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