Author: Sue
•12:02 PM

Photo by Charles Chien 

http://www.photomacrography1.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=667


ants_aphids_sugar

 

My dear friend Malcom stopped by yesterday. He’s the kind of person that always has valuable information on just about everything! Needless to say I was anxious to show him my new blog and wean any kind of information I could get from him.  First thing he mentioned was Aphids; the reason I started this blog!

He had information I had never heard about that was so interesting I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone.

It seems that aphids excrete a sweet liquid called honeydew that the ants just love. The ants rub their antennae against the aphids to make them poop out this succulent honey!

You can actually see this in the great macro above. It seems the ants having discovered this wonderful food supply actually guard the aphids from predators wanting them only for themselves!

ladybug and ant

 

In this picture a ladybug is being attacked by two ants as she tries to feed on some aphids which happen to be one of the ladybugs favorite foods. This amazing macro can be found at http://www.pbase.com/antjes/lady_bug

Antje Schulte is the photographer.

If you see swarms of ants climbing up your trees it is quite natural to assume there are aphids around.  The ants actually herd their aphids much like ranchers herd their cattle. The ants have been known to bite the wings off the aphids in order to stop them from getting away.

“Chemicals produced in the glands of ants can also sabotage the growth of aphid wings. The new study shows, for the first time, that ants' chemical footprints -- which are already known to be used by ants to mark out their territory - also play a key role in manipulating the aphid colony, and keeping it nearby.” More about this can be found here http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071009212548.htm

So bottom line…if you want to get rid of your aphids you need to get rid of the ants!

What a vicious web we weave!

So here are a few suggestions I found on getting rid of ants in your trees!

“ If you see ants crawling up aphid-infested trees or woody plants, put a band of sticky material (Tanglefoot,etc.) around the trunk to prevent ants from getting up. Teflon products, which are too slippery for ants to climb up, have also been used. (Note: Do not apply sticky material directly to the bark of young or thin-barked trees or to trees that have been severely pruned; the material may have phytotoxic effects. Wrap the trunk with fabric tree wrap or duct tape and apply sticky material to the wrap.) Alternatively, ant stakes or baits may be used on the ground to control the ants without affecting the aphids or their natural enemies. Prune out other ant routes such as branches touching buildings, the ground, or other trees.”

More on this at this site. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html

So the family is calling for me! I can hear their cries in the other room, enough to drive one up the wall! What would they do if I wasn’t around any more. Honestly it is enough to drive me crazy. The dog is scratching my legs up because he wants attention and I am trying to finish this blog! Yet life goes on another day…….

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