ants & bulbs

Jane McGary
Wed, 28 Jul 2010 17:47:36 PDT
Linda asked,
"Have any of you had problems with or experienced ants eating your bulbs?  "

Ants have long enjoyed the dry, warm environment of my bulb frames, 
and I often lift a pot and get stung badly when it turns out to have 
an ant colony in it. However, I have never seen any indication that 
ants eat bulbs. The only trouble I have from them is (a) they can 
take the soil away from the fine roots of dense shrublets such as 
Cassiope, causing the plants to die; and (b) they grab the seeds of 
plants, including geophytes, that have evolved to disperse their 
seeds via ants transporting them (e.g., Cyclamen, Colchicum, western 
Erythronium, Trillium), before I can harvest the seeds myself. In the 
latter case, they eat a structure on the seed and drop the fertile 
part of the seed somewhere, so that it often germinates and grows far 
from the parent plant.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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