Bulbs Ants & the Eco system

Steven Hart hartsentwine.australia@gmail.com
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:01:36 PST
Yes well I'd love a cute American fluffy ant eater in my trees lol but we have spiny little egg laying echidnas to feed so it would never work lol 
Diane is right on the ball, ants do play extremely critical rolls in the Eco system, & poorly selected distraction of the wrong ones can be a crises, perhaps equal to the now concerning loss of bees world wide. Different ants play different rolls in the environment from pollination seed dispersion to clean up duties. 
But which ants & where ? 
In recant years vicious Brazilian Fire Ants slipped into Australia past the watchful eyes of quarantine & have established populations around the Brisbane & Ipswich area. These are being arial baited from helicopters & manual means. 
Here in my unusual mountain eucalyptus & dry rainforest environment I have many types of ants & some are highly strung insect predictors, large powerful jumping ants & giant bull dog ants an inch long with stings so powerful they have made me wet myself after a bad sting, attack insects on my flower bulbs  occasionally although they live down in the rainforest & protect their homes viciously if provoked. That's a dangerous game, they can jump inches at a time & a dozen stings will send your dog or maybe you into deep shock from excruciating pain. 
They are fine if visiting the garden & only attack if threatened. 
I have large slow moving honey ants with giant heads who never sting at all & they work at night time snooping about the garden fir who knows what. There is many other species here & all play an important roll. One of the great risks of blanket baiting is the potential loss of native species & this can upset the Eco system. Often the loss of these native forest ants who defend their territory, can lead to more harmful introduced specials moving in. I find in city home gardens & even here sometimes, some of these take over specials cultivate & harvest mealy bug or aphids on my bulbs or other plants.
I only kill ants if they are introduced species or black house ants which grow mealy bug quite regularly, these are a problem with my yam collection & they can cover arial tubers, or harvested stored yams with mealy bug. I tend not to use baits due to the chance of loosing good ants by mistake, so my main method is to spray nest entrances with a good dose of surface spray, I watch carefully & if they re root to a secondary entrance I will spray them until they have no escape roots left & I usually see the end if that nest. In these times good ants usually establish back to the area & reduce the invasive species returning.   

Steven Hart 
Sunny Queensland Australia 

> On 14 Dec 2016, at 11:12 am, Diane Whitehead <ldiane.whitehead@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 2016-12-13, at 3:28 PM, Jane Sargent wrote:
>> Perhaps it is time to import a giant anteater.
> Maybe Australia would like them.
> I can't remember exactly where, but probably Western Australia.  There were signs along the sidewalks exhorting one not to step on any ants, as they were considered essential components of the ecosystem.
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