Ants Farming Aphids  
ant farms aphids
Ants scurry up and down the Virginia Creeper to tend the aphids at the end of the vine. I poked at them a bit, but didn't go so far as to risk a bite to determine to what extent they would defend their little bugs.
ant farms aphids
ant farms aphids
These bugs were amazing to watch, if not so easy to photograph. The red aphids were on the tender tip of the vine which was waving with the slightest breeze and practically trembling with the footsteps of the huge ants. Mosquitoes landed on me faster than I could swat them. I was looking forward to taking more pictures, but I inadvertently broke the vine with my weed eater. Now it hangs limp and shriveled, the aphids are mostly gone, and the ants have moved elsewhere to drink their fill. Yes, drink. Aphid pee is ant food, and these ants are farmers protecting their herd. They didn't seem to be doing a fantastic job of protecting it; this long greenish creature in the middle of the aphids is eating one of them. It's a fly larva.
black and red ants tending thier aphids
Pseudodoros clavatus syrphid fly larva eating an aphid beneath the eyes of a not too watchful ant
ant farms aphids
ant farms aphids
Humm... what are those little white dots?
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