BLACK CARPENTER ANT
(Camponotus herculeanus pennsylvanicus). This
very large, 1/4 to 1/12 inch long, black ant nests in stumps, tree trunks,
and other wood, producing sawdust as borers do. The wood can be treated
with 5% chlordane dust.
There are many other ants, more in the South than the North, and some
are agricultural or garden pests. The small brown Argentine ant makes
large nests in lawns, orchards, and gardens. Special baits and community
campaigns have been the recommendation. Dieldrin is now suggested.
The imported fire ant which makes large mounds in some of the Gulf
States is held partly in check with 5% chlordane dust. The red harvester
ant causes large bare spots in southwestern dooryards. A band of 2% dieldrin dust is used to make a large circle around entrance to the nest.
Texas leaf-cutting ants make very large nests. They cut leaves from
crop plants, macerate them, and grow a fungus for food in their nests.
Aphids, plant lice, belong to the order Homoptera, family Aphididae.
They are soft-bodied, have a gradual metamorphosis, and piercing-sucking
mouthparts. They feed by thrusting sharp hollow stylets from their beaks
into plant cells and sucking out the sap, resulting often in loss of color
and vigor, sometimes in deformities, galls, puckered or curled leaves, or
dimpled fruit. Aside from direct damage many aphids are even more
important as vectors of disease.
Aphids have a pair of wax-secreting tubes, cornicles, projecting from the
abdomen, and woolly aphids are covered with quantities of waxy threads.
Many aphids also secrete, from the anus, a copious amount of honeydew.
Some aphids live all their lives on one plant, others have a wide range,
and still others require an alternate host, wintering on one type of plant,
usually woody, then migrating to one or more herbaceous species for the
All aphids have a complex life history. Overwintering eggs hatch in
spring into wingless females which, without fertilization, give birth to
living young. These reproduce in the same way without fertilization for
several generations, during the course of which winged forms occasionally
develop for migration to other plants. Males, born in late summer, mate
with the females which then lay eggs for overwintering.
Most aphids are readily controlled by contact insecticides widi sprays
usually more effective than dusts. Nicotine sulfate, the old standby, is still
good. Use 11/2 teaspoons Black Leaf 40 per gallon of water with 1 ounce
of liquid soap or a heaping tablespoon of soap flakes. Combination sprays
containing pyrethrum and rotenone are usually efficient aphicides. TEPP
is very effective but so poisonous to the operator it must be used with
caution. Lindane is now widely recommended for some aphids. DDT has
been responsible for increase in aphid populations by killing lady beetles,
parasitic wasps, and other beneficial insects that ordinarily prevent aphids
from taking over the garden.