Roberta Gibson is an entomologist and writer/blogger. Roberta earned a BS in Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Master’s degree in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied carpenter ants . After serving as a biology instructor at various community colleges, she took a research specialist position with the University of Arizona. She worked closely with the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program teaching gardening and entomology, and became a Master Gardener herself.
- Phytophagy in Predaceous Heteroptera
- Arizona Master Gardener Entomology Manual
- Importance of the Sting in the Evolution of Sociality in the Hymenoptera (one of several authors)
- Life History and Development of Scymnus frontalis
- Influence of Cocoons on Egg Laying of Colony-Founding Carpenter Ant Queens
- Soldier production inCamponotus novaeboracensis during colony growth. Ins. Soc 36, 28–41 (1989).
- Africanized Honey Bees on the Move K-12 Lesson Plans
If you are interested in science and nature projects for children, visit her Growing With Science blog. Roberta also writes about children’s books at Wrapped In Foil and Science Books for Kids.
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March 31, 2015
13 Replies to “About”
I have a question about an ant problem in my apartment in California. I have had several pest control specialists look at it without solution. Is there a user group I can explain my problem and hopefully get an answer?
There are some groups where you could upload clear photographs to get an identification. Also, they might be able to give you more information about the biology of the particular species you have. You can try the social media links on this page: http://blog.wildaboutants.com/ant-related-websites-forums-and-blogs/ Most of the groups I know about, however, are more interested in keeping/raising ants than killing them.
Are you willing to share more specific details about the ants in your apartment?
Having searched the internet diligently, I have yet to come across the answer to this seemingly simple, but nagging question:
Here in South Alabama (near Mobile, infamous entry port of S. invictus), I notice that in the Fall, usually sometime in October-November, there appears to be a sudden explosion of ant mounds on the shoulders of roadways and in the grassy medians of divided highways. As in I’m driving along one day and suddenly notice that there are little red conical mounds in the median every 20 yards or so, for miles and miles. And they are noticeable enough that surely they weren’t there the week before, as I would remember seeing them. What is the explanation for this yearly occurrence?
Interesting observation. I can think of two possibilities right off.
1. The simplest explanation is weather. Has it rained? Ants tend to move more material above the surface when it is rainy. The mounds prevent water from getting into their tunnels and the workers also clean out tunnels that have been damaged, moving soil up. Remember, the roadsides will receive more runoff than nearby areas, such as a field.
2. Ant mounds can be a way of regulating temperature. As it becomes cooler, perhaps that species is using the mounds (and the roadways) to keep the colony temperature warmer than the surrounding air.
There are other possibilities as well, such as the presence of competing ants.
If you ever get a chance to stop, it would be worthwhile to try to find out what kind of ants they are, or at the very least, if all the mounds are the same kind of ant.
Do the mounds look like these for fire ants? http://www.timesdaily.com/news/fire-ant-hill-explosion-recent-rains-cause-rash-of-fire/article_e7f4c967-b29c-5bfe-b6e0-7de903289f90.html
I was wondering if ants were attracted to other insect’s pheromones (in specific honeybees)?
The Musical AntExperimenter
Great question. Ants are more closely related to wasps than bees, so it seems unlikely. Let me investigate this more and perhaps I’ll write up a blog post about it. I’ll let you know.
Why don’t ants realise they’re in an ant farm?
How do you know they don’t?
One of two queens I recently found in my workplace was carrying what looked like a cocoon, fairly large, almost as big as the two but a little smaller; I had transplanted them into a quick little ant farm along with a drone that was with them, but he died a day after they were moved in. Anyway they’ve had this in with them since I got them a week ago but today they decided to cut it open. I had assumed that the worker inside was ready to hatch but it looks like it’s still in that forming-into-an-ant phase.
Do you know why they did this? Is it harmful to the pupa? Is it because the pupa won’t make it? Are they just hungry..? Thank you in advance!
Without knowing what kind of ants they are, etc, I can only make a few guesses. My first guess is that your ants are probably not queens if they were carrying a pupa. Workers are more likely to carry pupae. If they are workers, then they probably are getting hungry.
My name is Katy and I attend Sacred Heart Girls College Hamilton, in my science class we are doing a crest project. I decided to do mine on creating a pill to repel ants that does not have a bad odor or can contaminate food products. I saw your site and was wondering if you could give me some pointers.