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Mike Scioli mescioli at ix.netcom.com
Thu May 11 09:45:54 EST 1995

In <Pine.A32.3.91.950509114728.12488A-100000 at ca0330.caso.ca.blm.gov>
aknox at CA0330.CASO.CA.BLM.GOV (ANNE KNOX) writes: 
>I was wondering what effect ants have on soil/plants.  Do they stick
>eating organic material in the soil, or do they go for plants or
>I have noticed that when I prepare a bed for veggies, they move right
>and start laying hundreds of eggs.  Is it a coincidence that none of
>carrot seeds sprouted in a bed that has become a home to thousands of 
>ants?  I was toying with the idea of sprinkling some diatomaceous
>around to kill some off, but if they aren't doing any real harm I
>that I can live with them. Has anyone studied the effects ants have on

>natural systems?  My interest is peaked.
>Thanks - Anne

Check out (discount bookstore for about $48, library for free):

    Hölldobler, B. and Wilson, E.O.  1990.  The ants.  Belknap Press.

It is fairly easy to follow but loaded with chapters on the life
cycles, communication, foraging, symbioses, prey (eggs, seeds, etc.) of
various ant genera.

Ants (and their impact on the environment) have been a fairly popular
research topic for a least a decade.  Check the journal Ecology over
the last 10 - 15 years
for examples of the experiments conducted and the results.  There is still much to
be done :-).


Mike Scioli          email: mescioli at ix.netcom.com
MSE Consultants      voice: 1-512/292-4214
Austin, TX             fax: 1-512/292-4272


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