Texas leaf cutter ant is the only Atta genus in this region, or the most northern Atta sp. Inhibited. The queen ant of this species is also
one of the largest ants in the world. At least 2 cm long and very bulky. This species usually performing nuptial flight around May, but
swarm may appear as early as April, or also as late as June, but the largest swarm is usually encountered during May. Usually after
In May 2010, Christian from Germany visited Houston to collect ants, we missed the A. texana swarm because of the trip to Arizona,
but by the time we returned to Houston, we were still able to collect few A. texana queens. Apparently the swarm continued for the next
few days due to the pouring rain. The location was in north of Houston, at a place near Livingston, called Goodrich.
This year I have a friend living in New Caney who was able to help me finding some A texana queen based on the location I gave him.
About 20 wingless (fertile) A. texana queen ants were collected, but as usual most don’t make it. By the end, only 2 robust queens
were able to produce eggs.
One of the problems in successfully establishing a colony is that the queen ant was unable to cultivate fungus to feed the larvae. I was
lucky to receive fungus from friends around the state so the queen ant could continue to keep the larvae well fed.
I was trying to help ‘speed up’ the colony by adding 10-15 worker ants, but apparently the queen was not so happy with the decision
and started to kill the workers. Later I noticed that by adding one worker one at a time, the queen will accept the worker. The worker
ants started to groom and care for the eggs and larvae, an amazing sight.
By now, I could see larvae growing up, some ready to pupate too, while the queen ant continue to deposit egg on the fungus. Hopefully
I will be able to witness a healthy colony in a month or so.