June 3, 2012
Under some of my cabbage and broccoli plants there are ant hills. The stems look weak on those plants compared to others. Are the ants eating the plants? Ants don't eat garden plants, but a large colony can interfere with a root system and thus stunt a plant. While ants are helpful when they aerate the soil or churn the soil, bringing up nutrients from deep soil, you may have a case of too much of a good thing. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the ant hills. The sharp edges on this powder of fossilized diatoms should penetrate and kill enough ants to reduce the population.
June 23, 1995
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.--Proverbs 6:6The ant's industry is -- please pardon the pun -- proverbial. In the fable, isn't the ant, as the foil of the sun-giddy grasshopper, the symbol of foresight and prudence?These warm sunny days are the season for ants. In the garden I notice them crawling, always in a hurry, among ant-sized specks of dirt; and on sidewalks, as I stroll with my dog, I see their mounds -- brown creepy doughnuts -- in the cracks between the concrete slabs.
June 3, 2003
YOU FIND THEM scaling the sides of the sink. You find them crawling along the edge of the stove. You find them in the dog's bowl, swarming through the food he's just been eating. Gross! No wonder Fido seems antsy. Before long, ranks of the insect multitudes may swell to the point that they just pick him up and carry him off. A solid month of rain, preceded by record snowfalls, has apparently been even harder on the ants than on the rest of us. Their nests have been flooded so often, they finally just packed up and moved to higher ground - your house.
July 21, 2007
Something is making perfect inverted cones in the soil beside our house. Should we worry? These clever funnel-shaped traps are made by antlion nymphs, also known as doodlebugs. When ants walk on the trap's dry crumbly sides, they fall into the bottom of the trap where an antlion hides, waiting to eat them. If you dig at the bottom, you'll find this brown dusty predator with its long pincher jaws, who is intercepting ants before they get into your house. My hollyhock leaves are turning red and yellow.
December 5, 1998
DALLAS -- The world could be a very efficient place if more people would just stick their heads in the sand -- and take a look at all the ants.To you, perhaps, ants mostly mean spoiled picnics. But to a handful of scientists who want to improve airplane travel, telecommunications networks and Internet traffic, ants are pure inspiration.The idea is simple. Ants do some pretty intricate tasks. Even without the benefit of training seminars or personal organizers, thousands of ants can figure out how to cooperate to build colonies, find food, tend to their young and remove their dead.
October 5, 1997
My 3-year-old fig tree is finally producing ripe figs. I'm a little upset, however, by the ants that crawl into the opening that appears on the bottom of the ripe fruits.Is there anything I can do about this?The small opening, referred to as the "eye," is common on most fig varieties. Ants find the sweet interior irresistible. But they do crawl out when you disturb them, and they don't usually affect the eating quality of the figs.You may be leaving your figs on the tree too long. Try to harvesting them as soon as they are fully colored and begin to droop a bit.By the way, Celeste is one of the fig varieties that is well adapted to our area.