Leafcutter ants grow their own food underground and that food is fungus. The ants walk along their own little highways through forests and gardens looking for leaves leaving a scent on the highway like breadcrumbs so they can find their way to their underground colony. They use their sharp mouthpieces to strip leaves from plants and then carry the pieces of leaves over their back, returning to their nests to chew the leaves to pulp. The moldering pulp is stored with ant ca ca and other “starter” fungus, decomposing everything into an edible leafcutter ant delight.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided a leafcutter ant infestation in our garden thus far. This is probably because SU keeps everything around our area very clean and unpalatable to the little critters. We went on a walk recently down our road close to twilight and found an ant superhighway with all roads converging to a hole in the ground. The ants are most active when the sun is lower in the sky and so we were able to see them in action in the fading light; a convergence of leafcutter ants…in the campo.
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