Funnel ants - Ed Frazer

It's July 2019 and the recent rains have turned up some ant mounds that are conspicuous in mown lawns in the Moggill Creek Catchment area.

They are made by Funnel Ants, a small honey-coloured ant that is common in soils that do not have a lot of clay.

The mounds are made after rain has flooded their chambers, which in dry periods can be a metre or more under the surface.

© Ed Frazer 

When conditions are good the funnel ants build shallow chambers in the root zone of the grass. They bite into the grass roots and feed on the sap that flows out. Funnel ants do not have a bite that hurts people.

The males and fertile females (Queens) develop with wings and fly in November to mate. The Queen lays eggs that all hatch as females and they build up into a colony of workers by late January.

Heavy infestations will damage the growth of lawns and they are difficult to control. Commercial pest control companies have access to products that give reasonable success, but these insecticides are not available to domestic buyers.

If you want to see the funnel ants you have to dig quite deeply as they only come to the surface while they are cleaning out their chambers after rain.

Or you can view an image and learn more about these ants, whose scientific name is Aphaenogaster longiceps, by heading to the Australian Museum website.

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