Archive for September 2010

Ants Go Marching

September 4, 2010

There used to be a tower of three red rocks in my east side of my back yard between snowberry and mock orange. The tower fell last spring when I was installing the new raised bed. Today, while weeding the bed, I absentmindedly moved  two of them and reached out to pull a bunch of grass. Out of the corner of my eye I caught site of what had been hidden.

A circle of pearly white and parchment colored seed shaped things covered the indentations in the dirt where the stones has sat all summer. Strategically placed around these were holes recognizable as ant nests.

I have uncovered plenty of ant nests in the yard but I’ve never seen the larvae and pupae so close to the surface before.
As I sat back and focused my attention on the nests, worker ants scurried from the holes and raced about. At first the activity seemed random. Then one worker lifted a cocoon over its head and carried it into the nearest hole. In under ten minutes not a single one of the larvae or pupae remained on the surface.

While this played out on the surface, there was more action around a place nearby where I had dug out a clump of grass. I must have nicked the side of the underground chamber because ants were pouring out, spreading across the sandy dirt and bits of grass.

When the forerunners began scaling my sneaker, I decided that another part of the bed needed weeding more. By the time I packed up my tools to head inside the hole was closed and only a few ants patrolled the surface again.

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