Do ants eat caterpillars ?

Tagged: ,

This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Pedropackman 2 months, 1 week ago.

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #36362

    PMCOolJ
    Participant

    I have had quite a few caterpillars (and one chrysalis) on my swan plant but they seem to disappear. I’ve noticed a huge hoard of ants on the plant and I’m wondering if they’re the culprit. Does anyone have any advise for me please ?

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #55924

    Pedropackman
    Participant

    For the past three years Argentinian ants have eaten all the Monarch eggs on my and adjacent properties.
    This is in Kuaotunu, on the Coromandel.

    #49308

    butterflylover23
    Participant

    Yes, ants DO eat small caterpillars and eggs but do not kill the ants with a chemical spray because that may harm the cats.

    #49277

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Just read this in GET GROWING:

    If you see a trail of ants heading up a stem it’s a sure sign that mealybugs, aphids, plant hoppers or whitefly are in residence. The ants are on the way to harvest the honeydew that the sap-suckers excrete.

    Ants build their nests in dry, loose soil, so making sure potted plants are well watered to keep them away.

    If pots are small enough to be lifted, soak them thoroughly in a bucket of water to drown any nests within.

    Trays of seedlings and small pots can be placed above trays of water that act as moats, preventing ants from reaching the plants.

    GET GROWING reader Maree Riordan sent this tip: “Getting rids of ants in the garden is easy. Mix equal amounts of icing sugar and baking soda and place in a plastic container with a few holes drilled in it. The ants are drawn to the sugar but can’t tell the sugar from the soda so ingest both. The soda builds up gas that can’t be expelled from their body, so the ant dies.”

    Commercial products include Kiwicare’s NO Ants Gel Bait or NO Ants Liquid Bait, Yates’ Neverong or diatomaceous earth from DENZ Ltd.

    #36364

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Yes, people here have reported seeing ants taking eggs and small caterpillars before.

    #36363

    Caryl
    Moderator

    Below is some research date from the States regarding ants… In my experience ants have moved in when a chrysalis is damaged and not before.
    http://www.ecology.info/monarch-butterfly-page-2.htm
    She found that monarch eggs were less likely to survive on plants on which ants had been observed, suggesting that ants are important predators. This conclusion is supported by work in Texas by Calvert (1996, 2004), who found that monarchs inside enclosures were much more likely to survive than those outside the structures. Calvert found that invasive fire ants currently kill most of the monarch eggs and larvae present in many areas in Texas, but thinks that pre-fire ant mortality may have been similarly high, since these invasive ants displaced native ants that also preyed on monarchs. In addition to predators, insect parasitoids are important sources of monarch mortality in some locations. Prybsy (2004) and the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project have both documented mortality rates of from 10% to 90% in late instar monarchs due to tachinid fly (family Tachinidae) parasitoids, but these rates are variable from location to location and year to year.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.