[permaculture] of ants and aphids

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 10 18:21:00 EST 2009

I have seen many examples of how ants nurture aphids, but what I saw today still surprised me.  The ants had built mud structures around my artichoke plants (stalks and leaves) so that whitish ants that normally only colonize the roots could feed on the plant’s green parts even in cold weather.  They built delicate earth walls around the stalks to about a foot above ground and started to plaster the artichoke leaves with mud to a height of two to three feet. In the part they had completed, there was a narrow hollow space between the plant and the mud walls so that the ants could circulate freely for milking the aphids.

The ants also already nurture colonies of aphids on the citrus trees, something they normally only do in March or April when the weather gets warmer.  They also collected much of the wheat I had broadcast into the fields.  Normally, I can broadcast seeds without soil cover from mid-November because the ants stay underground during the winter.  I have never seen ants that active by mid-December.  
Looks like ants and aphids are adapting well to climate change. Are we?
Dieter Brand


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