The Power of Flower

What you feed, where you get it from, basically we will build up a comrehensive list of suitable plants to feed Leaf Cutters. Also in temperate countries, what do you feed them in the Winter?
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Acromyrmexbob
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The Power of Flower

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:44 pm

Feeding Ants flowers has long been a trick of public displays. I have seen some amazing spectacles, both in big exhibits, and in the wild, of large colonies of Leaf Cutters cutting flowers and carrying them back to the nest. But beware, dont get any flowers from Florists or supermarkets. The are ALL laced with systemic insecticide and will kill the ants!
Any flowers will normally be taken, I havent come across ant that are refused.

Roses are a great favourite....

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and the sight of them carrying the discs of petals is fantastic

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Some displays even go to the length of stamping out shapes such as hearts at Valentines day.....

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Just get your flowers from the wild, away from any possible pest control.

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Andyj
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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Andyj » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:58 pm

I visited Buckfast butterfly house a few weeks ago and they have a colony of Atta which were devouring camellia flowers. I tried this with my Acro's and they won't touch it. Yesterday i tried Tulip and although they cut some, today i saw them carrying it all back out ???

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:56 pm

Supplied Buckfastleigh with their ants but I dont think I supplied their setup. In 1991 I did build them a tank but I doubt that is the one they are still using. Never tried any of those but this time of year is fantastic, so many new leaves to try!!!

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Jackie62 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:56 am

I have actually tried roses from florists and the ants wouldn't go near them! I didn't think at the time, but of course they must have been covered in something nasty....

I've tried laurel 'candle' flowers, they liked those, and they loved blackthorn flowers (and leaves), a nice one to try in early spring. They threw cherry blossom in the water.... :)

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:20 pm

They love Elderflowers and so do I. Various blossom at this time of year is taken. You should try offering them a branch from a tree with leaves and flowers and see which they prefer. Logic says Acromyrmex will be more partial to the odd flower because they are less evolved than Atta that are specialised Leaf Cutters. The more primitive Attines use flowers and not leaves. I often see Acromyrmex in the wild carrying buds and flowers.

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Jackie62 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:48 pm

Yes, I've noticed this. Our Acro colony did like flowers a lot. I've been trying elder leaves with our Atta and they did cut it, they loved branches of blackthorn flowers and now the leaves too. They were carrying wild rose buds this morning, so can't wait for the flowers to open for them to enjoy. I'll also try elder flowers too. I put in a lot of forage for the weekend, including some Aucuba japonica so will be interesting on Monday to see what they cut over the weekend.

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Occultus » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:50 am

Looking forward to the wild roses blooming. Will go and check on them in the morning actually.

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Atta solider » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:49 am

My old atta colony took the leafs not the flowers Andrew, they cut the flowers but drop them in pile they never carried them.

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Re: The Power of Flower

Post by Acromyrmexbob » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:02 am

It's definitely hit or miss with flowers. I think it depends on the needs of the fungus and the alternatives that are available. Again the trick is to try variety until you find what your colony likes. Each one is different. Montreal insectarium feed their colony on hibiscus flowers, they seem universally acceptable. It's possible that, as with leaves, there are some that are favourites and some that are not taken.

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