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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Ant Lions

I'm going through my draft posts and trying to finish some up. This post is actually from last August, but I'm just posting it now because I found it too interesting not to share. (Not that I'm some kind of blogging Tolstoy or anything, but because I learned something totally cool.)

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Over the summer, I noticed some odd-looking holes in the ground beneath the hives. They didn't quite look like anthills, but I didn't give much thought to what they might be either.

A couple of weeks ago, though, my DH made a brave appearance (because he's allergic to bee stings) in the bee yard and said, "Oh, look, you have antlions" (My guy really does know everything!)

"Where?" I asked. He pointed to the weird holes.

Antlions! I'd never heard of them! Say it together now -- "Google time!"

Apparently, the term ant-lion applies to the larval form of about 2,000 members of the family Myrmeleontidae. Here in N. America, antlions are also called doodlebugs because of the spiraling trails they make. They live in little pit-like burrows which they use to trap ants and other tasty arthropods.

From Wikipedia: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrmeleontidae


Adult antlions look a lot like dragonflies or damselflies, though I think I read somewhere that they're more closely related to lacewings. In fact, I've seen many of the adults by the hives, but I didn't know that's what they were. It's also interesting that my ant problems decreased dramatically after I saw them hanging around. Ah... It's a truly a wonderful world.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antlion

2 comments:

  1. What a timely post! At our 4th of July BBQ, one of our friends was telling us about ant lions, but wasn't sure what they turned into. He mentioned the little burrows that he would see along hiking trails out here. I never got around to "Google time" to find out what they are and now I don't have to! I could use some in my garden - ants have been a real presence this year, but it hasn't seemed to affect the health of my hives. Like you say, strong hives can defend themselves pretty well.

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    Replies
    1. It must be a psycho -- I mean psychic -- thing. LOL

      You probably won't get ant lions in your garden since they seem to prefer sandy soil. My hives are located on a terrible patch of ground with poor soil and where nothing much grows -- except ant hills and ant lions.

      Glad to hear that your colonies are thriving!

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