Tag: ants

Carpenter Ants Under Toilet

Carpenter ants, commonly known as “big black ants,” are a common pest in many Michigan homes. They forage into homes from the outside and chew out wood that might be rotten or wet. The wood is removed to create a complex series of tunnels that will become their colony. Once inside the home, they forage for crumbs and other food sources and drink from leaky or sweating pipes. Sometimes colonies can remain in place for three years before they fully mature (i.e., before you realize there is a big problem). How many carpenter ants can live in a mature colony? Sometimes up to 10,000. At that point, the ants will start to thrust out the excess population in order to start a new colony – that’s when you start seeing them all over the home. Unfortunately, by the time you start seeing them all over, it can often mean that…

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Symbiotic Ant Plants at U of M

The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens recently received a large donation of the fascinating family of flora known as “ant plants.” Ant plants have a symbiotic relationships with ants, which live in the plants’ enlarged stem base (called a caudex). The caudex forms early in the seedling’s life cycle and eventually grows large enough to house chambers and tunnels. Some of the tunnels connect to the outside of the caudex and become the holes through which the ants enter the plant. As the caudex matures, new tunnels and chambers form — some connect to existing chambers and others make new entry holes. Thus, the ants do not chew the chambers; the plant forms the chambers and the ants come and live in them. It is an astonishingly complex symbiotic relationship. The mutual cooperation between the biological systems of the ants and the caudex of the ant plants is truly…

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