Re: Wet wood/Ants questions....

John K Jordan
In my experience ants of all type will build nests in all kinds of places, moist, dry, hot, shade. They seem to prefer a somewhat sheltered spot instead of sopping wet. I've found many between stacked pressure treated boards, under green log sections, under steel roofing panels, under big rocks, and of course, inside lots of trees where there was a void and some kind of access.

Tiny ants you mentioned, as compared to big black and possibly carpenter ants, are particularly prone to raise a colony in the oddest places. Note that there are at least 1000 species of ants in the US so different ants may have different preferences.

When I encounter a colony of ants, unless they are in one of my buildings or are carpenter ants in a stack of wood, I generally just brush them off and leave them alone. They will run around, grab the larvae, and find a more secure place.

Ants are extremely important for the environment. Some things:
Ants turn and aerate the soil, allowing water and oxygen to reach plant roots. They take seeds down into their tunnel to eat the nutritious elaiosomes that are part of the seed, the seeds often sprout and grow new plants (seed dispersal). Ants eat a wide variety of organic material and provide food for many different organisms, other arthropods, amphibians, birds, and mammals. They prey on other insects some of which are pests, and some will attack and kill termites.

I do admit to conducting seek and destroy missions on fire ant colonies. I have experimented and found what works quickly and effectively.


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