Quantcast
         
 
 

     

           

     TX Organic Research Center

 

 

CURRENT MOON
 
Leafcutting Ant
 

 

 

Common Names: Cut Ant, Cutter Ant, Fungus Ant, Parasol Ant, Texas Leafcutting Ant, Town Ant

Scientific Name: Order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae, Atta texana

Size: Adult--1/16" to 1/2"

Identification: Light to dark reddish brown ants. Antennae are long and elbowed without distinct club. Three or more pairs of sharp spines on the waist. Can be seen marching along well-worn trails. Those going back to the mound will have a large piece of leaf tissue.

Biology and Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis. Swarm from early April to early June. Workers travel on well-defined trails. They cut leaves and buds and take them back to the mound. They also gather some seed. Most active from May to September, foraging at night. Mounds are huge. They use the organic matter to build a compost pile underground. They feed on the fungus that grows from the compost. Queens can live ten years or longer.

Habitat: Nests in well-drained soils. All vegetable and landscape plants.

Feeding Habits: Feed on fungus that grows on the compost pile made in the mound. The ants use all kinds of plant materials to make the compost piles. Howard's listeners report that these ants even use the berries and leaves of mistletoe.

Economic Importance: Leafcutting ants will defoliate and kill food and ornamental plants. One of the most difficult ants to control.

Natural Control: Lizards and birds love to eat 'em. Thick mulch around all plants helps. Beneficial nematodes help control all pests that live in the ground.

Organic Control: Treat the mounds with plant oil products such as Eco-EXEMPT. Wettable sulfur works well. Flooding the colonies with a dam built around the surface openings usually works. The ants can be kept out of the fliage of trees by wrapping the trunks with aluminum foil.

Insight: These ants are master compost makers and mushroom growers.


Leafcutter on saw dust.

Previous Question | Back | Next Question
 
 
Printable Version | Back to Top

 
Green Sense Products
 
MaestroGro
 
Spriggs Brothers
 

H A N N A H ' S    M A R K E T P L A C E

Send this website to a friend Make this website your home page