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Thread: Ants in my plants!

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Ants in my plants!



    My Nepenthes Ventrata has suddenly become the center of attention today for a colony of small Ants. They are sucking up the sugar exuded by the nectar glands found on various parts of the plant. The peristome also secretes a sugary nectar; strategic to the luring and capture of the insects. Several times today I watched the ants working on the plant and I would say that 80% of the ants that explored the peristome eventually fell into the pitcher! One of these pitchers had at least fifty ants in it by 7PM this evening. Yikes!

    The first ant falls in at the 45 second mark, watch for it! (and at least two more at 3:36 and 4:41)

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    Wow, there's a ton of them ! Are they only bothering with the ventrata ?

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    101% noob potted_plants's Avatar
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    Well, I doubt the plant hates all of the food.
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." ---- Albert Einstein
    Food is a important part of a balanced diet.
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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cthulhu138 View Post
    Wow, there's a ton of them ! Are they only bothering with the ventrata ?
    Curiously, they have only gone after the N. Ventrata, yes. I placed my seedling N. Chastity (sanguinea X sibuyanensis) where it has one pitcher touching the bench where the ant path intersects, and they seemed to ignore it in favor of the Ventrata. I saw this same thing happen one week last Fall when an ant colony entered the GH and targeted just one N. maxima hybrid ("Poi Dog", pedigree uncertain), and within two days, a couple hundred of these small ants ended up in the pitchers! (all uppers, several of which were touching the bench frame) Clearly ants are particularly susceptible to the sugary lure of Nepenthes, as they are sugar collectors, going so far as to even "farm" other insects like aphids and scale; species known to exude sugar.

    Fascinating to watch the trapping mechanism in action, yes?!

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    You might not be so fascinated if the ants start farming aphids on your plants
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Whimgrinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not a Number View Post
    You might not be so fascinated if the ants start farming aphids on your plants
    I do keep a watch out for that kind of activity, but they don't appear inclined to do so, fortunately :-)

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    CreatureTom's Avatar
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    Gah I love watching our plants work!

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    Nice looking plant, it is getting the big tasty ants too! I thought the one that fell in at 3:35 was going to get away
    ‘Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad – or an economist.’

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