leaf cutting ants

May 21, 2019 | yard insect control

Have you been walking around the perimeter your home and noticed some particularly busy looking ants with small jagged edged pieces of leaves or foliage held over their heads scurrying about? It shouldn’t come as a big surprise these are commonly known as Texas leaf cutting ants. Leaf cutting ants will normally gather not only torn bits of leaves but flowers and even some fruit from trees. The leaf cutting ant will use these bits and pieces of decomposing material to raise an underground fungus garden deep, down in the earth and then harvest the fungus for food for feeding their colony.

Depending on the size of the colony, they are constantly searching for more leafy material to adequately supply their growing nest. Leaf cutting ants can cause considerable damage to plants and with a large enough colony nearby, defoliation of some ornamental plants can seemingly happen overnight. They are not discriminate and can damage grass, weeds, ornamental plants or anything else with foliage.

Texas leaf cutting ants are normally a dark or reddish brown color. They can average between 1/16 to ½ inch in length. They have three pairs of spines on their back with long legs. You might see swarms between April to June and in areas of higher rainfall, this can be extended anytime during the spring season.

Most people will not think of ants until they see the above ground mounds but below ground, interconnecting chambers can reach 15-20 feet deep.

If left unchecked and with an adequate food supply to draw from, leaf cutting ant colonies can exist for years and continue to expand.

Most leaf cutting ants prefer to work when temperatures range between 45-80 degrees so in the summertime, if you see them at all, it may not be until much later in the evening. Careful inspection of your yard for the Texas leaf cutting ant or other ants for that matter, particularly after it rains will help in locating potential colonies. Because leaf cutting ants only eat the fungus they cultivate, they do not respond to regular sugar or oil based material. Once the leaf cutting ant has been correctly identified, the appropriate baits should be applied around all mounds and depending on how long the leaf cutting ant colony has been growing, may require a second application to control.

Since Texas is home to so many varying ants and other thriving insect colonies in the yard, it is best to contact a pest professional for correct identification to determine the type of ant issue that may be invading your property and best method to treat.  For Texas leaf cutting ants or any other pest issues in or around your home, contact  Bio-Tech Pest Control today at 281-296-6022.

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