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Ants! and More Ants!!

In case you’re wondering…. last week was an ordeal by all accounts. Seems if something could go wrong, it did.

First and foremost my computer was down and out for the count – had to have the power supply replaced. That took all week waiting on repair man! Then the lawn mower went out – another trip to get ‘parts’ and then to top it all off the well pump stopped working. That could have been a real problem if we didn’t have community water for the house. But since I only use the well for watering the yard, plants, and orchard it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

We were able to get someone out to replace the pump fairly quickly – BUT before they could install the new pump, David and I had to take down half the building (roof included) around the pump so they could get the truck in to replace the pump which was some 100 feet down in the ground. What a job – not to mention we had to have it done in under 2 days and the 100+ daily heat did not help.

We ended up working early in the mornings and then didn’t start back up until after 6 when we could work until just about dark. Still hot but not as hot as middle of the day. Have to say that was probably one of the hardest jobs we’ve tackled since we’ve been here – and we’ve got to put it all back together before winter! OK – so now you know about last week. :  (

In spite of not having well water available, the garden is toast due to the heat. However, I’ve been noticing that some of the leaves on the remaining black-eyed peas and okra plants have gone missing. In fact, my okra plants were stripped. Chalked that up to the grasshoppers I’ve seen about the yard – BUT –  I wrong.

We were coming in after dark the other night and saw a line of ants along the walk from the carport to the house gate … and beyond – all totaled the distance was probably about 90-100 feet!

They were about three abreast and it seemed every other ant was carrying something… a snippet of a leaf, a crape myrtle bloom, a black-eyed pea. Yup, couldn’t hardly believe it. They had the peas hoisted over their ‘heads’ carrying them along the path back to their home … I assumed.

It was too late that night to investigate them, but next night David and I were out there about 9:00pm, flashlights in hand looking for ants. And there they were. Same ants, same path, same food stuffs.

We followed them away from the house gate to what we supposed would be their ant hill. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a hill at all but more like the entrance to an underground cave; just an angled hole going into the ground. It was quite large (for ants) – in fact, large enough that several ants could come and go at the same time.

We then followed them back along the walkway, through the grass (where they had actually cleared a pathway through the grass!!!! – like we would clear a path through the jungle ), through the yard fence into the flowerbed, then under the bit of picket fence and into the garden. They were everywhere on the pea vines. Some were cutting portions of the green leaves, others were chewing on the pods and some were on the ground picking up the bits and heading for ‘home’. It was amazing to see so many insects so organized.

Next morning there were no ants to be seen anywhere, but we could still see the trail they’d cut through the grass (see photo).  We checked out the entrance to their ‘home’ and found it had been covered over with bits of leaf debris and cypress needles. If we hadn’t seen it the night before – and had the garden hose as a reference point – I doubt if we would have ever found it. We’ve not been out at night again to check to see if they are still harvesting what’s left of my garden, but for sure they are not out during the day.

Found them interesting enough to go on line to try and find out what kind of ant they were – since they were like nothing I’d ever seen before. Discovered they are Argentine ants – and quite destructive to gardens… ya think? Guess if I want to have a producing garden next year, I’ll have to find a way to control them – but for now… think I’ll just let them be.

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