The ants were having a field day on the mealies (corn). And they had deposited aphids all over the corn stalks. There were ants Everywhere - in the beds, on the weedguard path, up the plants. Nasty, biting ants.
Harvesting anything inside was a "quick, grab, load up the container, stamp! stamp! get out and brush off, and forge back in again - quickly" over and over happening.
|Ants and aphids on the corn|
They are so bad that MKid even found them attacking the plug at the end of the small portable solar panel which charges the light we use to help our visitors get to their cars at nighttime.
|Fried rice - does anyone want some fried ants?|
I guess they enjoyed the jolt? Seriously, they are literally eating and destroying the tip of the plug. And being killed in the process. The dead ants are then carted away by the living ones.
|They are in the process of destroying the tip of the plug|
After I ripped out the remaining mealie stalks, I decided to add some fresh compost to that bed - quickly LOL
Collecting compost from the hole in the ground which is earmarked for our future cellar I was horrified to find cutworm - not small cutworm, not "squishable with the foot" cutworm, but h-u-g-e juicy morsels of destruction. I know they couldn't wait to land into the newly planted bed and munch all those tasty roots..
|Look at the size of this mother!|
i shouted: "RMan - come and see!" (a.k.a. I need your big heavy boot as opposed to my thin soled croc.)
Lucky I did that for RMan had a brilliant idea. If the ants were so interested in our legs, arms and what was inside our clothing - would they - could they - possibly be interested in freshly exposed, warm and wriggling cutworm?
Oh Boy - could they ever! "Ants secrete the formic acid for attack and defense purposes". I reckon that is why their bites hurt as much as they do. And what they did to those cutworms was amazing!
|This is what the cutworm looked like 15|
seconds after being deposited on the ground
|Four cutworm being eradicated in|
an eco-friendly way
I have no problem with the ants inhabiting the rest of the 2 Ha - but my lemon trees and my shadecloth veggie patch - I think not!
And it is happening both in my town garden and in the veggie hut on the farm.
The mealies kernels are forming on the top of the plant where the tassle is normally situated. This is on one of the popcorn plants on the farm...
|Normal corn acting strangely...|
Finally, our neighbour, CGuy, permanently has a guy living on his plot to prevent theft of his equipment and materials and wanton destruction of his "house in progress", and to look after his chickens. This chap very kindly keeps an eye on our house as well. As we gave him our excess food prior to leaving the farm at the end of our last weekend visit, he informed RMan that on 13th February, 2012 we had 33 baboons on our property! 33?!?!?! That's hectic. He managed to scare them off - thankfully. And I don't know if they got anywhere near the veggie patch...
|Baboons on our neighbour's roof in March last year.|
I am amazed - for it must be at least 12 kms to their natural habitat in the mountains. And I'm not that keen on them making a habit of visiting our neck of the woods. In fact, it is exactly a year ago that I wrote about them gamboling around on our other neighbour, Tom's roof. Hmm, as I typed that - I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the farmers fields have all been harvested, and they are now on the scrounge for other food...? Blockhead doesn't seem to be making the most of his position of authority - it may, therefore, be time to increase the size of his family :) Well, he can only remain a bachelor for so long, especially being away from the bright city lights and all those attractive females. I'm sure one of them wants a farmer for a husband, even if he has got a big head...