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Old May 30, 2013   #16
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I found a new kind of ant carefully slicing up a cherished grape vine and hauling little pieces of leaves about 8 feet away to their nest. They appear to be what is known as "cut ants", and an unwelcome import. I poured a kettle of boiling water down its hole and so far they seem to be gone. Hopefully I killed the colony and I won't be seeing them anymore.
The Cutter ant is a very tenacious ant.

If you found a opening, your on the right track, but beware they usually will have many more entrance holes in the surrounding area. Most times the entrances are hidden under a leaf, or some such object.

You can find them during the day, but the ants you see during the day are the stragglers from last nights raid.

They are most active at night, and its best to look for them around 10 PM. They are easy to spot with a flashlight, the movement of the column sometimes as wide as 6" wide is amazing to see. I've tracked them to thier main entrance as far as 1/2 mile from what they are eating.

There are basically two different type of workers in a column going out to feed at night.

1. The actual Cutter Ant, climbs into the bush, tree, or whatever, and they are the ones doing the cutting, letting the cut pcs fall to the ground.

2. The other ants do the leg work, 1,000's of them pick up the pc's to take back to the nest.

But here is the KICKER, they don't eat the leaves for food.

Here's what happens underground, the workers deposit the cut up leaves in a large chamber in a pile. There the leaves are chewed up by another worker ant, and they then reguritate what they chewed up, and paste that onto the walls, and ceiling of another chamber. Those ants have a special protien in them that spawns a fungus to grow on the chewed up leaves, and thats what they all the ants eat, a fungus.

Actually they are composting the leaves undeground.

So you did find the entrance they were using that night, YES I, said that night. They always dig multiple entrances to a nest. They will have anywhere from 7 to 12 or more entrances and all depends on the size of the underground nest. But if you find Cutter Ants, there will be what is called a "Mother Nest" within 1 mile from that nest, and thats the nest you really want to kill out.

Look for a mound approx. 6-10' in diameter average size, and is bare ground surrounding multiple holes with mounds around each hole. Sometimes these Mother mounds are in a mound themselves 1-2' high out of the ground, the dirt or sand is brought to the surface, a cementing is added to that and the mound will be probably rock hard. Also you will notice 1-2" diameter holes all around the mound.

If you want to see an amazing act of nature, go to that location at just before sunset. Right after sunset they come out of those holes by the millions, they form colums as wide as 6" wide and start thier search for something to cut up.

There are usually 7-10 pathways leading out from the nests, they use a new pathway everynight, on a rotational pattern.

On their journey each night they might walk past hundreds of the same type of plant that they actually cut up. You would think that they would cutup the first availabe plant, but they don't, they first have to travel, then start cutting.

If you find the plant that they are feeding on, stand off to the side about 3-4', and keep still and quiet and you will be able to actually hear the snipping sounds of the mandibles cutting thru the leaves.

They are extremely hard to kill ant.

1. Boiling water down the hole will just soak into the ground.

2. Don't use gas. I, did one time, in fact I used Coleman fuel. Poured a quart down the hole I found, capped it with a brick and waited 30 minutes so the fumes would travel thru-out the tunnels. Then removed the brick and took a long stick, lit it with some gas, and touched it to the entrance hole. There was a small explosion, and a section of ground erupted upward about 3' into the air. And then my kids starting yelling that thier were columns of fire coming out of the ground all around me as far away as 100'. Thats how I, learned of thier multiple entrance holes. I'll never do that again, good way to start a brush fire tho.

So what will kill them. Orthene, a white powder non-organic, and smells like rotten eggs.

Sprinkle it along thier pathways near the holes they use. Don't treat the hole itself. The ants carrying the cut leaves will walk thru the Orthene and carry it back into the nest, to were they drop the leaves, that will in turn get into the composting chamber, that poisons the fungus, which when eaten by the ants, kills them.

Good Luck killing them

Terry Layman
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Old May 30, 2013   #17
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Stvrob, we saw those ants at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego...and while they were fascinating to watch, I would never want them in my yard!
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Old May 30, 2013   #18
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Terry, oh my gosh! I just read your post! Amazing creatures but WOW!
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Old May 30, 2013   #19
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Stvrob, we saw those ants at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego...and while they were fascinating to watch, I would never want them in my yard!
No, they are bad for your yard, but there is a good resource for them.

People that raise, lizards and the like pay up to $20 for a 1 lb tub of them.

A lady just west of me about 30 miles, goes out at night, into the farmers fields and vacumns the columns up into a 10 gl backpack converted Shopvac.

When she gets home they go into a Refrig. that holds the whole Shopvac. That way they are chilled and won;t move.

She packages them up and sells them to Pet Shops and on Ebay and Ships them by the USPS postal system all over the USA.

FREE product, all PROFIT.

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Old May 30, 2013   #20
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kurt, what is Amdro?
http://www.amdro.com/ I use the granular form.
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Old May 30, 2013   #21
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Wow, Terry! That is what I call RESOURCEFUL!! I would think there'd be a LOT of ants in one pound. ;-)
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Old May 30, 2013   #22
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Wow, Terry! That is what I call RESOURCEFUL!! I would think there'd be a LOT of ants in one pound. ;-)
Selling them by the lb, is a lot easier than by the count.

You don't want one of the cutter ants, chomping down on a finger or some other tender skin. Once they clamp those mandibles closed they start the shredding action whether its plant leaf tissue or skin.

Terry
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Old May 30, 2013   #23
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We suffer with a great variety of ants but have found an answer which is cheap and effective.
Take a small plastic container with a screw lid, drill a small number of holes just above the bottom with an 1/8th drill.
Add a mixture of one cup sugar, one cup of warm water, two tablespoons of regular borax. That's the stuff they use in the laundry. Fill the container up to the drilled holes with the syrup and place close to the entrance, hill or ant run.
The ants will forage at night, taking the stuff into the nest, kills the queen and workers. The screw lid allows you to leave it out, even in the rain. Works every time. To date this year I've deleted 5 nests, with still more to go.
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