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fire ants

October 16, 2007

So, for the farm, I’m researching how to get rid of fire ants. These little sons of bitches are biting one of our sweet little bunnies, Sombra, because she is stuck laying on the ground all day instead of being able to hop away. Don’t get me wrong: Sombra can scootch and slide, and she also has a “wheelchair” for a period of time during the day. The rest of the time, she is laying on some hay or a blanket or two. The ants are attracted to their food, poops, and any other stuff they like to eat. In the process, they bite our sweet little bunny’s ass.

Anyway, in doing my research today, I found this interesting tidbit:

The Horrid Phorid

Fire ants face a nasty natural enemy in the phorid flies from the genus Pseudacteon. The tiny flies, some species less than 1 mm across, attack and parasitize fire ants, eventually decapitating them. How?

A female fly injects a single egg into a worker fire ant. When the egg hatches, the immature maggot migrates to the ant’s head, where it continues to develop and eventually eats the brain and muscles. This decapitates the ant, but the developing fly remains in the head capsule as a pupa. After a couple of weeks, a new adult fly emerges and begins the cycle again.

Wow. I thought we had really horrific natural predators. But this definitely takes the fucking cake.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2007 11:11 pm

    poor sombra! fire ant bites are no fun at all. :(

  2. Tracy permalink
    October 17, 2007 9:31 pm

    Hi! This comment isn’t about fire ants, but I was hoping that if you have a free minute, you could do me a favor. I want to “adopt” a turkey from Farm Sanctuary. But I’m interested in knowing more about the personalities of the eight turkeys. I’m not sure which are at your place and which are at the other location. But if you could just give a brief description of the ones you know, I’d really appreciate it. When I bring the turkey’s picture to Thanksgiving, I’d like to be able to tell my family members about him or her.

    Thanks,
    Tracy

  3. October 18, 2007 1:03 am

    Hi Tracy,

    You didn’t leave an email address to reply to, so I’ll just reply here. I hope you see it. (You’ve also given me the idea to blog about the Adopt-A-Turkey project, so you can read about it there, too.)

    Anyway, of the 8 turkeys chosen, Juniper, Oak, Magnolia, and Luna are all living at the Orland, CA shelter.

    Usually, the turkeys are chosen based on their demeanor, so these girls are sweet little birds. Magnolia is especially sweet, as you can pet her and talk to her anytime. She’ll even come to you, instead of you having to approach her.

    As for their stories, I couldn’t really tell you here. I’m not at work so I don’t have access to their files. However, I’m fairly certain that when you adopt one of our girls, enclosed with her picture is her story. You can call our NY office at 607-583-2225 and ask them to be sure.

    I hope this has been helpful. Good luck choosing a turkey girl – they are all equally amazing.

  4. Tracy permalink
    October 19, 2007 3:02 pm

    Thanks, Sarah!

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