If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles
Deep thought, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it rarely comes to the mind of a gardener when he discovers in the middle of his plot a huge pile-nest with millions of small six-legged creatures swarming in it.
After such an unpleasant find, the summer resident, as a rule, rushes to the nearest horticultural store and buys all the pesticides that have come to hand in order to permanently drive the invading ants from their land. But are such radical measures always justified? What are the benefits and harms of garden ants?
The first acquaintance with the enemy
Types of Ants
In the world, there are more than 13 varieties of ants and each of them has its own lifestyle.
Most of the species live in tropical regions of the world, but we have plenty of this living creature: about 200 species live in Russia and about 40 in Moscow and the Moscow region.
Russian ants belong to one of the subfamilies – formicine and myrmycin.
Formins are protected from attacks by enemy insects and humans with the help of formic acid, but myrmycins “bite” their enemies with a special sting (and such a bite is very painful even for humans).
Let’s get acquainted with the most common types of formicine and myrmycin in our country.
The red Myrmecia is a medium-sized goosebump with a tan or straw yellow body. It is he who often likes to settle in gardens and garden beds.
The second most common among myrmycin is turf ant. It is smaller than the red myrica and has a black or dark brown body. This species prefers dry sandy soils.
With another representative of myrmycin – the pharaonic ant – many townspeople faced in their apartments. A tiny wretch accidentally entered Europe from tropical countries over 200 years ago. For a short time, he firmly registered in urban dwellings, where he is comfortable, satisfying, and warm.
The main difference between formicine and other types of goosebumps is in the form of a breast. If you look closely at the abdomen of this arthropod through a magnifying glass, you can see that it is divided into three parts.
The largest formation of domestic species is a wood ant, whose length reaches 1.4 centimeters. The head and belly of this ant are colored black, but the chest has a red or reddish color. The woodman sometimes chooses his house old stumps or logs in the garden.
In suburban areas, most often you can encounter a black garden or brown forest ants. The first of them is able to survive even in urban conditions – on flower beds, in parks, and crevices in the asphalt. The length of the blackish-brown calf is only 3-4 millimeters. Forest counterpart is a little larger – its size varies from 3.5 to 7.5 millimeters.
Perhaps you had to stumble in the forest on large ant heaps of coniferous twigs and needles. Their inhabitant and builder is a red forest ant. This species rarely migrates from the forest to garden plots or to people’s houses.