Leaf Cutter Ants
Leaf Cutter Ants are also known as "cut ants" or "parasol ants". Leaf Cutter Ants originate mainly in the USA. They are found in eastern and south central Texas. They also can be found in parts of western Louisiana. Leaf Cutter Ants are not commonly found in subdivisions, but are considered an agricultural, rural pest. Leaf cutter ants are serious agricultural pests in Central and South America, causing millions of dollars in crop losses.
The foraging Leaf Cutter worker ant is reddish or rust-colored. They range from 1/12 to 1/2 inch in length. The winged reproductives of the Leaf Cutter Ants can be 1-1/4 inch longer. The Leaf Cutter Ant has a spiny body and long legs.
Leaf Cutter Behavior
Leaf-cutter ants damage vegetation because they remove foliage in order to carry it back to their nests. They have been known to remove all the needles or leaves from a tree in one night. The leaves or needles are not eaten for food but used in another manner. It is chewed into a material much like pulp. This pulp produces a fungus that feeds the colony.
During the summer months, Leaf Cutter Ants forage at night. The worker ants will forage during the day during the spring and fall months unless it is rainy or overcast. They are attracted to lights on buildings. After a major swarm, they can be found in a large number on exterior walls of buildings.
Look for "trails of leaves" when inspecting their trails in order to find their mounds.
Leaf Cutter Nests
A Leaf Cutter Ant nest can cover up to many hundred square feet in area coverage. These nests can extend as far as ten-twelve feet into the ground. Leaf Cutter Ants prefer to nest in well-drained sand or loamy soils.
You may find craters of loose soil deposited above their nests, with many entrances.
Since Leaf Cutter Ants like high moisture areas, search in those areas. Typical areas are drainage ditches, streams and creek beds. Mounds are formed in the shape of a large funnel.
How to Control & Get Rid of Leaf Cutter Ants
It is recommended that you drench the mounds with a diluted residual insecticide such as Conquer Insecticide at 1 oz per 5 gallons of water.
When spraying the Leafcutter Ant trails as a residual insecticide, use 2 oz per gallon. The trails are very distinctive, looking like a worn path of bare ground.