Rain keeps the ants in check.

March 26, 2003

Weather and Bug Report

We are having one of the driest rainy seasons in recent history.  It has not rained in about  12 or 13 days.  I believe there were about 3 or 4 days of rain in all of March.  My sources confirm this.  Dust was in the air at the University site yesterday, as I gave a tour of our work there.  I have learned that the lack of rain is why there are so many ants.  Usually the rain keeps the ants in check.

Leaf Cutter ants have eaten a number of the plants we have put in.  However, I have recently learned of a few methods to combat them. One is to get the volunteers together and do a rain dance.  This has been done and has proved to be totally ineffective.  Perhaps the intention was not there. You must really believe it will rain, and I think some of them lacked faith.

The second method, which Dario told me about, is to plant a non-native shrub next to the natives, which somehow wards off the ants. I didn’t even consider this method since by solving one problem with a non-native, we could easily create a bigger one. 

The third, which I just learned yesterday, is to cut the bottom and top off a 2 or 3 liter plastic bottle, and use it as a perimeter around the base of the plant. I was awe-struck.  Why hadn’t I thought of something so simple?  We will employ this method. We will try to recover our steps and re-plant the ones that have been devoured by our little friends, the incredible and efficient Leaf Cutter ants. 

That is all for now.  Please try and do a cross-equatorial rain dance in the PDF office in San Francisco. It couldn’t hurt. Que le vaya muy bien.  

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