Ants are important beings as far as the ecosystem level is concerned because each species exists for a reason and purpose. The species of ants that exist are very varied and even differ in their living and organizing. Now something true is that these insects can become a bit annoying for their large communities.
One of the species that has one of the most fascinating and complex social systems is the leaf cutter ants, which is characterized by having really large colonies where millions of individuals coexist, positioning itself as one of the most dominant species. However, like other species, it can also invade certain places when they become an uncontrollable pest. Therefore, each person must know more about these insects and this species, in particular, to know how to handle it correctly.
How To Eliminate Leaf Cutter Ants Naturally?
When ants create nests and live in large communities where they reproduce rapidly, they can become pests. Therefore, if you want to control the infestation and effectively get rid of this species, you can follow these steps:
Drizzle lemon juice
You can spray it or apply it with a cotton ball where ants commonly pass. It can be effective in keeping them away. Ants do not like overly strong odors such as citrus fruits such as lemon or orange.
Cinnamon is a spice that you can sprinkle all over the places where the ants pass and even at the anthill entrance. Apply it constantly to deter ants from opting out and not returning to your property.
Adding baking powder in a little water to mix both ingredients with a little sugar will make the yeast ferment. So if you spray it, the ants will die from the emitted gases.
Cheat with rice
Placing small pieces of uncooked rice will serve as bait for the ants to carry the rice to the colony, and you can eliminate it.
Baits for ants
Baits are manufactured exclusively to attract ants as they have a product that attracts them and another that eliminates them.
What Do Leaf Cutter Ants Look Like?
Each ant belonging to the colony has a different size, so the queen is 22 mm, the males are 18 mm, and the workers are 2 to 14 mm. Each is based on three pairs of spines and a smooth exoskeleton in the upper thorax.
Leaf cutter ants can look quite different:
The workers, who mainly work in and on the nest, are only a few millimetres tall. The workers who transport the leaf pieces into the nest, and the soldiers who defend the nest are significantly larger.
They reach a size of up to 15 millimetres. Leaf cutter ants are usually reddish-brown in color.
Reproduction of Leaf Cutter Ants.
In ant colonies, the only ones that can reproduce are the fertile females, which is the nest’s queen. A certain number of males collaborate in the nest’s reproduction and growth, this being their only purpose.
Both the queen ant and the fertile male ant mate using nuptial flight. The queen must mate with several males to collect the sperm of 300 million to establish the colony properly. Once this activity is carried out and completed, the male ants die shortly after fulfilling their mission based on reproduction.
Where Do Leafcutter Ants Live?
This ant is characterized by living in forest spaces, and it is common to find its nests in areas such as farms or plantations. As they are a species that is mainly inclined towards wooded spaces, they can also be found in jungles and forest patches.
Their nests are underground and connected by various tunnels that allow them to have perfect mobilization and a much better organization.
How do leaf cutter ants live?
Leaf cutter ants have a typical behavior. They carry large, green pieces of leaf that they have bitten out of leaves into their underground burrow.
They hold these pieces of leaf above their head with their three pairs of legs. Often there are many ants that form long lines on their ant trails so that they cannot be lost even in the dense jungle.
In the nest, the leaves do not serve as food, but are food for a fungus that grows on the leaf pieces in the warm, moist environment of the ant nest.
Leaf cutter ant nests have corridors that can reach up to five meters into the ground and have several living chambers.
A colony can be established by a single female who brings some fungal threads in a special pocket of its intestine.
Then, it has the fungus in the new nest until the first ants hatch. From this point, it is their job to continue to care for the fungus.
Also, leaf cutter ants are clean animals. In their nests, there are special chambers with the fungus so that their burrow stays clean. Up to millions of ants can live in a leaf cutter ant nest.
Sometimes leaf cutter ants even pose a threat to plantations because they can “harvest” whole trees or bushes in a single day.
According to extrapolations, leaf cutter ants are supposed to harvest a sixth of all leaves that grow on trees and bushes in the amazon jungle and drag them into their nests. In some regions, leaf cutter ants are considered as pests.
What Do Leaf cutter Ants Eat?
Leaf-cutter ants or known by their scientific name as Attax, feed exclusively on a garden fungus. This mushroom is cultivated by themselves deep within their colony in their “garden mushroom,” and they are practically dependent on it for food.
Therefore, this garden’s maintenance is crucial, and therefore, it is necessary to collect leaves where they are cut into fragments.
Are They Important To The Ecosystem?
Like each species, although they can affect certain specific things in the ecosystem, each one fulfills a role in the environment. Leafcutter ants are no exception, and they are important for the ecosystem in terms of its balance.
They are vital to maintaining the balance of the environment where their role is important referred to the trimming of the vegetation where it also stimulates the new growth of the plants. In addition to this, they take care of decomposing plant materials and add the necessary nutrients to the earth.
Are Leaf cutter Ants Dangerous?
This species is true and important at the ecosystem level, but they can be more of a pest than a help when it comes to an infestation. Although they are not deadly for humans, they can be dangerous in your garden or your garden as they damage. Due to their activities, they damage roads and land, defoliate crops, and even defoliate a citrus tree in less than 24 hours.
So they can result in a pest or a dangerous infestation since they will damage all your plants or crops in your garden. It is necessary to control the infestation so that the damages are not catastrophic since they can get out of control and damage everything.
Also Read: How To Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally
Do Leaf cutter Ants Bite?
Leafcutter ants may not be fatal to humans, but their heavy bite must be considered, which can be painful for the person, and also, if several attacks, they can create a small wound in the area.
Unlike fire ants, which inject poison, this species of leaf cutter ants are much more harmless. So you should not worry too much. However, it would help if you remembered that the bite could hurt considerably.
How To Keep Leaf cutter Ants Away?
Leafcutter ants indeed have a special and important role in the environment, but they must be controlled. If they are in your garden or on your farm or orchard, it is necessary to eliminate the infestation and keep them away. To do this, you will be given a series of methods that you can use to keep them off your property in an effective way:
There are specific plants that effectively scare off leafcutter ants, so planting them is an effective method. The aromatics you can plant can be mint, lavender, absinthe, and rue.
Spray your plants
You can also create infusions with the aromatics mentioned to spray your plants or the surroundings and keep ants away.
Just as there are plants that repel ants, there are also perfect spices to achieve this goal, such as red pepper or cayenne.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Animals Eat Leaf Cutter Ants?
Many insect-eating animals such as spiders , frogs and birds can eat the leaf cutter ants.
Smaller animals – such as predatory insects – can be fended off by the soldiers guarding the nest with their sharp jaws.
Can leaf cutter ants eat the meat?
Leafcutter ants are diverse from other ants with regards to the food source. Most ants eat sugary food to get carbohydrates and greasy meats or substances to get protein.
Are the leaf cutter ants nocturnal?
People have informed us that these nocturnal animals are known as the leaf cutter ants. The ants don’t consume the leaf fragments but bring them into cavities just where they make use of the material to keep a fungus garden.