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.