Ants laying eggs or larvae on Vinca Plant?

tamie_sandytxsoil(8)July 12, 2013

Just took pics and video...the best i could. I first noticed the leaves falling off my vinca plants. Upon closer instpection I saw lots of ants in the good part of the plants. Some were sitting stationary on the leaves and then I saw some carrying a white egg or semi clear embryo looking thing. Then I saw a leaf with a winged ant and it appeared to lay a bunch of these and then the ant scurried away from them. The ants sitting still appear to be sucking something from the leaves and then the leaf falls off. Any ideas. Here is a pic of the white things. Next will post the winged ant.

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tamie_sandytxsoil(8)

Here is the winged ant on a different leaf

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 7:13PM
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tamie_sandytxsoil(8)

Here is a link to the video of the winged one.

http://youtu.be/685piebAhRk

Here is a link that might be useful: YouTube video of the winged one and eggs

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Ants do not lay eggs on plant leaves, nor do they bring their larva out to plant leaves. Most probably they were collecting either the eggs of some other insect or maybe Aphids.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 7:17AM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

While kimmsr has forgotten more than I know about gardening I am going to have to respectfully disagree and say that queen was laying eggs the workers where packing away. Amazing video.

Wish I could help on what to do.

SCG

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:41PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

The "eggs" appear to me to be pupae. Don't know why they're on the plant.

The pattern for ant reproduction via eggs is this:
Winged ants mate, the female loses her wings and establishes a nest before she lays eggs.

I suggest OP send this image & video to her Extension Service office for ID, then please report back to us -- because we, too, are mystified!

Locate your county's office with this map
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

Here is a link that might be useful: locate your county's Extension Service office

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:08PM
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tamie_sandytxsoil(8)

Thank you so much for your responses. I have a problem with the email notice that is supposed to inform me of replies. I trying to get that fixed.

Kimmsr, I agree that they are not supposed to. All I have read indicate they do not. However, it sure looks like something was going on with what looked like ant larvae. I am continueing to monitor to see if I can catch the event again and collect samples for study.

And to all above, so far research has revealed these are called "Big Headed" ants. There is an bug expert that has taken an interest and wants to study what occurred here. As I learn more I will share it.

One explanation i recieved regarding ant larvae above ground was that there might have been an event that caused them to bring them up to safety.

Thanks folks.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:47PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Ants will move the eggs and larva from a nest that has been disturbed and you can see this frequently during heavy rainfall when the nest is flooded. However, since the queen ant is so large and ponderous getting her atop a plant to lay eggs would be an onerous task.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:28AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

In an established colony, the residing queen(s) wouldn't have wings.

Winged forms are the reproductives, males & females. After they mate, the female lands, loses her wings, then establishes a new colony -- that is, if she survives.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:35PM
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tamie_sandytxsoil(8)

Great feedback. Thanks. Still not sure what was causing the leaves to fall of the vinca plant though. With a 2x magnifier I was not seeing any other pests. Maybe I need to get a 10x magnifier. I sprinkled amdro ant block at the base of the plant. The ants disappeared and the leaves stopped falling off.

And like i may have stated earlier, the damage was not due to cut ants. I have those out here too....in abundance. They don't just cause the leaves to fall off. They cut into small pieces and cart away. Thry are truely amazang and truely frustrating.

And then we also have the grass hoppers! Looks like they are starting to strip some of my plants too. Most recent victims are a young bougainvillea, geranium, pepper plant....and I think a gardenia. I say think because that one could have been the cut ants.

Now I'm on a quest for grasshopper control. Praying Mantis? We are on 10 acres but really only concerned about the acre around the house.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 1:12PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Praying mantids are more of a novelty than an effective pest control crew.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:24PM
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