Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ants and Joe Pye Weed

Haven't had much time to blog in the past few days. It's also my birthday today. Prairie Moon Nursery doesn't know but they're getting me a gift. The issue of what Eupatorium I was sent. Unfortunately they said if they were labeled as E. coelestinum then that's what I was sent. Someone in their green house didn't check the species name when filling out my order. Good news though, they're mailing me the correct E. fistulosum and said I can keep the E. coelestinum. Hopefully no one got fired for this.

Currently the one I have and love is not flowering. But we're knee deep in aphid season and that's good for the ant activity. All over the new growth are clumps of aphids. Pictured above is a Formica (the larger red/brown ant) and Crematogaster species (the smaller black one). Tapinoma sessile was also present.

The Formica for the most part don't control any of the aphids. Instead they roam around the leaves usually below the aphids and collect the run off. On occasion though they harass the Crematogaster or Tapinoma from their herds and take over while the alarm bells are sounding. Once discovered though they quickly jump off the leaf. Then do it all over again.