Frogs get poison from ants, Science News for Students

Frogs get poison from ants

The skin of some frogs becomes poisonous after they eat certain kinds of ants.

Share this:

May 8, 2004 at 11:00 pm

Frog skin is often smooth and wet. The skin of some types of frogs also happens to be extremely poisonous. Now, scientists say they’ve discovered one of the major sources of this poison. It comes from ants that the frogs eat.

Ants in the diet of this poison dart frog, known as Dendrobates pumilio , provide the toxin that protects the frog.

M. Donnelly

Frogs have an enormous variety of chemicals in their skin. Depending on the chemicals present, some species simply taste bad. Others are so toxic that they can kill animals that eat them.

Sign Up For the Latest from Science News for Students

Weekly updates for inquiring minds of every age, delivered to your inbox

Scientists had guessed that frogs make their own toxins. Most frogs raised in captivity, however, aren’t poisonous unless the food that they’re fed contains toxins.

John Daly of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Md., was particularly interested in a group of about 80 poisonous chemicals called pumiliotoxins. These chemicals show up in the skin of certain tiny frogs from Madagascar and from Central and South America.

Daly and his colleagues collected about 500 samples of insects and other little creatures from eight sites in Panama. The only pumiliotoxins they found among these critters were in formicine ants. The subfamily of formicine ants includes carpenter ants and wood ants.

The scientists found the same types of ant inside some poison frog stomachs. The frogs apparently steal the poison from the ants to use for their own protection.

Frog legs, anyone?

Citations

Sohn, Emily. 2003. Frog chemist creates a deadlier poison. Science News for Students (Sept. 10).

www.sciencenewsforstudents.org

Home Remedy to Kill Red Ants in the Yard

By: Julia Margaret

21 September, 2017

There many methods for getting rid of ants. However, not all ants are bad. They kill cockroaches, larvae of the filth fly, scale insects, mealybugs, some beetles and termites. It’s a myth that there are more ants running around when it rains. The truth is ants multiply very quickly during dry, hot weather. Most people, if not all, don’t want ants in their house or ravaging their garden. They especially don’t want the stinging, red ants. But before you buy the ant spray, take a look at some home remedies that are better for the environment and your health.

Prevention/Solution

Don’t let red ants set up housekeeping in the first place. Make sure there isn’t any standing water near the house. Tie all trash up in plastic bags and keep the trash can lid shut tight. After the sanitation company picks up the trash for the week, hose out the can thoroughly and dry it in the sun. This gets rid of any lingering foodstuff or stickiness. If you feed your pets outside, pick up the bowls the second they’re through eating. Scrub the bowls out with soapy water and dry them before setting them outside again.

The Nest

If you can find the red ant nest, kill the queen ant along with the colony and the problem is solved. Observe the traffic pattern of any red ants in the yard. The trail should lead you right to the nest. Now that you’ve found the nest, prepare 2 to 3 gallons of really hot water. It doesn’t have to be boiling, but if it is you’ll know for sure that it’s hot enough. Pour it down the nest around noon to 1 p.m. This is when the queen ant is most active, increasing your chances of eliminating it. Repeat two or three times.

Treat the Garden

Dr. Myles H. Bader, a medical doctor and certified preventive care practitioner, developed this recipe for eliminating ants in the garden: «Combine 2 tbsp. of flaked Ivory soap, 1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce, 5 drops of sesame seed oil, 5 drops of Jungle Rain into a 1 gallon spray bottle and shake to mix well. This can be sprayed directly on the ants or on their pathways. Keep away from children and pets.»

Beneficial Plants

Ants hate mint. Plant some mint around the yard and the ants will move to the neighbor’s garden. However, mint is very invasive. If you don’t control its growth, you’ll have a mint problem instead of an ant problem. The best way to do this is to plant the mint in coffee cans. Poke some holes in the bottom of coffee cans. Plant the mint in the can using good potting soil. If you like the smell and the way mint looks, plant a lot of it around the yard. That should permanently take care of the red ant problem.

Another Remedy

If you have coffee cans, you must also have coffee grounds. Ants don’t like coffee either. Spread old coffee grounds around the garden. Cats hate them, but plants love coffee grounds and they’re also good for the plants. Spread them on other parts of the yard where you have seen trails of ants, and pour them down the nest if you can find it.

See also:  New Method Advances Research on Controlling Mosquitoes Using Nuclear Techniques, IAEA

www.gardenguides.com

11 Tiny Ants You Can Find in Your House

Many species of tiny house ants found in the United States can infest your personal space. If you spot some small ants crawling around your kitchen floors or the walls outside, chances are you’re dealing with one of these species.

  1. Acrobat Ants

Worker and queen acrobat ants don’t grow much longer than 0.13 inches. This species is identifiable by its unique heart-shaped abdomen.

These ants are a light or reddish brown, except for the characteristic black abdomen. They’re found throughout the United States, though you won’t see any mounds in your yard. Instead, they seek out rocks, leaves, and debris for shelter. They may also enter your home and build colonies in tunnels that other ants or termites have created in your walls.

  1. Big-Headed Ants

Image via Flickr by Starr Environmental

Despite the name, these ants are a small species. The workers only grow up to roughly 0.063 inches long, though the seed crackers — those for which the species has earned its title — can grow up to 0.13 inches long. Big-headed ants are found throughout the United States. They prefer the same type of shelter that acrobat ants do and may thrive in your home’s foundation or under the floorboards. They eat insects, seeds, and any food they can find in your home.

  1. Caribbean Crazy Ants

Caribbean crazy ants grow up to 0.13 inches long and are known for building massive colonies with multiple queens. An infestation could easily lead to hundreds of thousands of ants. You can identify Caribbean crazy ants by their golden color. They’re most commonly found in Florida and Texas, and build their nests under rocks or wood or in the walls of a building.

This species of ant is found throughout the United States. They’re distinguishable from Caribbean crazy ants by their darker color and erratic movements. They tend to keep their colonies further away from food sources, so you may see a swarm heading back and forth from their nest to whatever they’re foraging. This species only grows up to 0.1 inches long.

Ghost ants are another one-size species that doesn’t get much longer than 0.063 inches. You can identify ghost ants by their opaque appearance. These ants are most commonly found in Florida and Hawaii and can be introduced to other areas through the import of plants and other goods from these states. They won’t hesitate to build colonies in walls and cabinets when they find food inside. In the wild, they prefer the shelter of stones, logs, and plants.

  1. Little Black Ants

Carpenter, pharaoh, odorous, and sugar ants are easily confused with this species due to their dark color. Unlike these other insects, however, little black ants are black all over without any red or brown coloration. They’re also very small and don’t grow longer than 0.063 inches.

Little black ants are found throughout the United States. You’re most likely to discover nests behind walls or in decaying wood. They prefer dark places, so you can discourage colonies from developing by removing debris from around your property and raking leaves in the fall.

Odorous ants are named for the rotten smell they produce when squished. If you prefer a more fragrant method for identifying this species, check whether they have a dark brown or black color all over with lighter legs and antennae. This species is found throughout the United States and is one of many species that tends aphids. If you have a garden and want to avoid attracting odorous ants, make the space less appealing for aphids.

Pharaoh ants are a small species that grows about 0.063 inches long. They have a yellowish color on their head and body with a red or brown abdomen. This is another multi-queen species that can build massive colonies.

Pharaoh ants are found throughout the United States. However, since they love warmth and humidity, you’re more likely to find them in the South or thriving seasonally. In the North, they’re a pest known for invading buildings in search of food and warmth.

It’s easy to confuse rover ants with little black ants. Both grow about 0.063 inches long, and the rover ants’ dark color makes them hard to correctly identify. This species is more common in the South and will head indoors for moisture and warmth. They’ll also nest in decaying wood, so it’s important not to leave debris in your yard if you don’t want a rover ant problem.

  1. Sugar Ants

Image via Flickr by patrickkavanagh

Sugar ants are another species that’s commonly mislabeled. Just because you see ants celebrating a spill of sugar or some sweet liquid doesn’t mean you have sugar ants. This species grows roughly 0.6 inches long and is native to Australia. However, they’ve been introduced to North America and love visiting homes throughout the United States. To identify female sugar ants, look for a dark brown or red body with an orange-black middle. The males are completely black.

Thief ants are found throughout the United States. They come in one size and grow to be about 0.063 inches long. You can identify this species by its light brown or yellow body. They’re known for building nests near other ant colonies and prefer to steal food from their neighbors rather than foraging. They don’t cherish sweets as much as the other tiny house ants you’re likely to find around your property.

See also:  Powder Post Beetle Infestations

Get Rid of the Small Ants in Your Home

If ants have invited themselves into your home, it’s because they want food, water, and shelter. Take away these things to keep them from wanting to come inside. This may sound easier said than done, but it’s manageable if you’re careful about cleaning up spills and sealing food. You can also do things like applying a spritz of vinegar and water around entry points to deter ants or laying out a mix of boric acid and cornmeal to kill them.

Prevention is by far the best solution when it comes to ridding your home of insect invaders. Research all-natural methods for killing tiny house ants using household products, and work with a pest specialist if needed to safeguard your property or resolve an infestation.

ants.com

Red Imported Fire Ants

Red imported fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S. Keep reading to le arn more red ant facts, including information on red ant bites and more.

Pest Stats

Color

Dark reddish brown

Shape

Antennae

Region

Southern United States, from Maryland to Texas, California and New Mexico

Red Imported Fire Ant Photos

Group of red imported fire ants crawling on the ground

Photo of a group of red imported fire ant alates

Photo of a red imported fire ant to scale

Profile of a red imported fire ant

Quick snapshot of the appearance and distribution of red imported fire ants

Videos View All Videos

Red imported fire ants can cause a burning sensation upon stinging. People are often stung by fire ants when they stumble upon a nest. Check out the red imported fire ant pest guide for more information.

Watch this video highlighting the basics on the number one nuisance pest in America — ants.

Watch this video to learn where ants are most commonly found in homes and advice on how to get rid of ants.

Watch this video to learn how to prevent ants and what to do if you have ants in your home.

What attracts ants to my kitchen counter? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, discusses why ants tend to march into the heart of the home. Visit the Ants Pest Guide to learn more about the common types of ants.

How are ants able to carry such large crumbs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, explains. Discover additional information about ants and ant control.

Red imported fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S. Keep reading to le arn more red ant facts, including information on red ant bites and more.

Pest Stats

Color

Dark reddish brown

Shape

Antennae

Region

Southern United States, from Maryland to Texas, California and New Mexico

Videos View All Videos

Red imported fire ants can cause a burning sensation upon stinging. People are often stung by fire ants when they stumble upon a nest. Check out the red imported fire ant pest guide for more information.

Watch this video highlighting the basics on the number one nuisance pest in America — ants.

Watch this video to learn where ants are most commonly found in homes and advice on how to get rid of ants.

Watch this video to learn how to prevent ants and what to do if you have ants in your home.

What attracts ants to my kitchen counter? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, discusses why ants tend to march into the heart of the home. Visit the Ants Pest Guide to learn more about the common types of ants.

How are ants able to carry such large crumbs? Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, explains. Discover additional information about ants and ant control.

Habits

These red ants build large mound nests that are flattened, irregular in shape, and between two and four square feet in size. They are commonly introduced into new areas through potted plants, shrubs and trees.

Habitat

Red imported fire ants usually nest in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping. Although these fire ants are often found outdoors, they can gain access to buildings through HVAC systems and AC units. I f they manage to get inside , red ant bites can become an issue.

Threats

Although commonly referred to as a bite, red ants actually sting, not bite. In fact, red ants will sting humans who disturb a nest. The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by red imported fire ants will receive multiple stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely to red ant “bites . ”

Red Imported Fire Ant Prevention

Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided. Interfering with a fire ant nest can cause them to sting, resulting in painful welts. To prevent red ants from entering a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.

www.pestworld.org

What are home red ants afraid of?

Ants are tiny insects and may be black, brown, red, or yellow. Adult ants range in size from as small as 1 millimetre (1/16 to 1/32 inch), like little black ants and thief ants, to as large as 13 millimetres (1/2 inch), like carpenter ants.

See also:  12 Amazing Ways to Keep Roaches Away

Should I be concerned?

Most ants commonly found in Canada are not aggressive, although some can sting. Ants should be tolerated as much as possible since they cause little damage in the garden. They can even be considered beneficial because they eat other insects like young silverfish and moths.

Species known to invade homes in Canada include the carpenter ant, the little black ant, the odorous house ant, the thief ant, and the pharaoh ant. Pavement ants can become a nuisance in lawns, gardens, and pathways, as well as indoors.

Carpenter ants are larger than other species, although the sizes of the workers vary. They can cause structural damage to homes as they destroy wood to make room for their nests. Piles of sawdust may mean you have carpenter ants.

How can I get rid of ants?

Prevention

Ant colonies send out scouts to search for food. Ants are attracted to many types of food. They enjoy eating sugary and greasy foods (like peanut butter or crumbs) and are also attracted to the «honeydew» produced by aphids on infested houseplants. A successful scout leaves a scented trail for other workers to follow back to the food source.

Removing access to food and water is the easiest way to avoid pest problems:

  • Store ant-attractive foods in glass jars with rubber gaskets, or in plastic containers with lids that snap tight.
  • Keep kitchen countertops clean. Sweep or vacuum the floor often, especially around pet dishes.
  • Rinse containers before putting them in the garbage or in recycling bins.
  • Empty kitchen garbage containers often.
  • Place composters at a reasonable distance from your house.
  • Place pet food dishes in a shallow dish of water. Ants can’t swim, so they won’t be able to get at your pet’s food.

Physical control

  • Repair and seal as many visible cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your house as possible.
  • Indoors, caulk along baseboards, cracks, and crevices to keep ants from passing through your house. If needed, use duct tape or petroleum jelly to temporarily seal cracks.
  • Ants will not cross sticky barriers. Try placing two-sided tape around the legs of plant stands.
  • Flood ant nests repeatedly with a garden hose to encourage the ants to move farther away from your house.
  • Pour boiling water and detergent down the nest to temporarily reduce the population of a colony.

Non-chemical products

  • Diatomaceous earth can be placed in cracks and crevices as a non-chemical means of control. This powder is made up of crushed microscopic marine fossils that scratch the outer «skin» of ants, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth will remain active as long as it is kept dry. It is non-toxic to humans and pets, but be careful not to inhale the dust when applying this product.
  • Natural gum resins can be applied around the base of trees and vines.

Important!

If you use a pesticide to control your pest problem, read the label to make sure you are choosing the right product for the right pest. Follow all label directions and warnings carefully. Always look for a Pest Control Products (PCP) number on the label so you know the product has been approved by Health Canada. See Use pesticides safely for more information on using pesticides safely.

Many chemical products can be used by consumers to control ants:

  • Chemicals, sprays, and dusts can be used effectively as barrier and nest treatments. Applying a chemical directly on the nest may eliminate colonies. Anthills show where the colony has built a nest, so look for anthills in your yard or follow the ant trails back to the nest. Nests located indoors in wall voids can be treated with dusts that can be puffed into the area.
  • Chemical barrier treatments can be applied to baseboards or door and window frames to keep outdoor nesting species from searching for food indoors. Spraying indoors where trails have been noticed may cut off food and water sources for an indoor nest and encourage the colony to split into multiple new colonies. If the treatment seems to increase the number of ants, try using a bait system to control them.

Did you know?

Some provinces and municipalities have placed more restrictions on the use of certain approved lawn and garden pesticides. Please check with your city, province, or local lawn care centre for more information.

Bait systems

Ants gather food and bring it back to the nest to feed ant colony members. So a bait system must work slowly enough to allow the poison to be fed to all members of the nest. This is a highly effective way of getting rid of nests. Baits containing boric acid are generally of low toxicity to other animals.

  • Place bait stations directly in the path of foraging ants, but out of the reach of children and pets. Ant trails are commonly found along baseboards, the carpet edge along walls, or along the edges and inside corners of cabinets.
  • Use plenty of bait stations. Two different baits at the same time will give better results.
  • Keep baits available for at least two weeks. Repeated bait applications may be needed.
  • Do not use chemical sprays to kill ants while using a bait system, or the bait system will not work. Reapply the bait if needed.

www.canada.ca

Share:
No comments

Добавить комментарий

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.