December 6, 2014

At The Park: Harvester Ants


Let's start this post with a fact about myself: I Love Ants.  Ants are some of the most interesting and amazing creatures around.  Just check out THIS article and THIS article for a few interesting facts about them!


These particular ants are Harvester Ants, and a few weeks ago I discovered a colony of them at the park that I visit regularly.  I don't want to go into how excited I was when I found them, but it involved a bit of hopping and squealing and overall giddiness.  I've only come across a few Harvester Ant colonies in the past, and that's because their numbers have drastically declined since the introduction of red imported fire ants.  The reduction of the Harvester Ant population has also made a negative impact on the population of our state reptile-the Texas Horned Lizard.  I'm hoping that the few sightings that I've made in the past few years means that their numbers are rising.  These little guys are awesome and I'd love to see the Texas Horned Lizard make a comeback as well.  On to more photos!!!





I badly want to invest in a 105mm macro lens so that I can take super crisp macro photos of these little guys without having to get as close as I had to with my 40mm lens.  I'm pretty sure the multiple people who passed by me at the park thought I was a complete lunatic.  I was on my knees and elbows, bum in the air, and lens about 3 inches or less from the ground for about 15 to 30 minutes.  I know I looked ridiculous.  So what happens when you plant yourself in the middle of an ant colony?  They attack.


Harvester Ants are generally not known to be aggressive, and they pretty much ignored my intrusion for the majority of the time I took photos.  Had I not been bitten, I probably would have stayed there for an hour or so just watching them.  I only suffered one bite, which was on my neck, and then I got up and realized that there were at least a dozen of them crawling on my sleeves and leggings.  I brushed them away and headed to my car to check out the bite and make sure I didn't have any more on me.

The bite was actually pretty painful and it even made my entire jaw feel tight and achy for about an hour!  Lesson of the day:  Don't lay down in the middle of an ant colony.  Common sense I know...but I was desperate for these photos and in the end it was worth it for me :)

Equipment Used:

8 comments

  1. Have you ever read any of Michael Nichols' stories about the things he has gone through while on assignment? A photographers gotta do what a photographers gotta do! These shots seem worth it - totally awesome. Photo 4&5 are my favorites! Also, I know those feels regarding the 40mm... I'd like to invest in a different lens for macros too. Someday!

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    1. Thank you!!! I haven't, but now I'm intrigued and am going to have to look him up and read a bit! I love my 40-it's allowed me to get better macro shots than what I had been before, but I'm aching for that 105 now! I'm going to rent it sometime soon and see what I can do with it :) Let me know if you rent or buy one-I'd love to see what you get with it!

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  2. Wow, those shots are amazing! I am itching for a better macro lens as well - not really sure what I want as I am still new to macro photography! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you Chrissy! I think one of the best options for close up photography is the 100mm or 105mm depending on what brand of camera you have. I have a Nikon and they make the 105mm. It's pricey but I'm saving! I'd really like to get into Super Macro insect photography which means I'll need to save even more for a set of extension tubes and an external flash. Good luck to you and Happy New Year!

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  3. Weren't you worried when the bite made your jaw feel achy?

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    1. I've never had allergic reactions due to ant bites, and didn't believe I was having one when I was bitten. I was imagining the bite would be painful if I were to be bitten, but wasn't expecting the achy jaw. I was slightly worried about it, but let it run it's course. If it had gone on for the rest of the day like that, I would have headed to the doctor.

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  4. Ants are very amaizing insects and that would be great to know about them more.

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  5. I really like your blog. you know, it is a kind of a fresh thing, as for me. There is no common topic or another boredom.

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