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Return of the ants

Me - Mariposario's guest blogger :).

 The leaf cutter ants re-invaded.


Turns out one foot of the table hadn’t been put into a wide enough oil container, allowing these persistent pillagers to cross the chasm, scale the table, and plunder again. So with almost perfectly dejavu detail we re-enacted the last night’s drama (with the one notable exception that this time I remembered to take P1170168pictures of the ants!) The caterpillar seemed none the worse for the last two nights escapades when I checked on it this morning though.  On the contrary,  it seemed content as usual to move as little as possible on the branches provided while showing off its impressive new weight gain (caterpillars really do literally grow in size overnight). I had breakfast, reassured of it’s well being… only to come back an hour later and find it disappeared! Completely. I still can’t believe it. All that work and it escaped on me just as as it was about to form its chrysalis (I’m quite sure that’s why it escaped… apparently all the long sturdy branches I had made available to it were not good enough and it decided to take matters into its own…feet) It will be fine, it apparently didn’t need a food source anymore and is more than capable of finding a good place to pupate… but still all that fighting with the ants and no chrysalis to show for it?! *sigh* I guess I have to figure out a better table AND a better caterpillar box next time.

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At least I have these two mystery caterpillar chrysalises to look forward to emerging… Any guesses what they’ll become?

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  • Leah

    Hey Pauline, I don’t know if you’re back in Costa Rica or not, but as far as the ant problem goes, you can try coating the table legs with “Insect-a-slip” to keep the ants from climbing up. AntsCanada recommends that for preventing ants escaping an ant farm, but you can use it to keep ants from stealing leaves or attacking caterpillars! Here’s the video they did for it:
    Cheaper options are Vaseline or a concoction that includes baking soda or something. Mikey Bustos, the Ants Canada guy, keeps Fire Ants (solenopsis gemenata) and I think he said Insect-a-Slip was the best way he kept them in their outworld.

    Hope this helps!


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