I didn't even know we had leafcutter ants! I thought leafcutter ants lived in...I don't know...Borneo, or somewhere equally remote and/or exotic.
See that green trail all along the fence? It isn't grass; it's a very long trail of partially cut leaves.
It starts at the base of the crepe myrtle on the north side of our house, runs along the length of the house, curves around the back of the house, crosses a cement walkway, crosses an expanse of grass, goes underneath the fence along the south side of the house, and stops at the street. I'm assuming the trail originally crossed the street and the leaves have since been blown away.
The ants are fascinating to watch and their industry is staggering. They harvest the leaves to feed to a fungus they farm down in the colony. The fungus helps compost the leaves and provide food for the ants. They carry the leaves an astonishing distance. A couple of weeks ago they were working on a different crepe myrtle on the south side of the house and carrying those leaves quite a distance around the driveway, as opposed to a much more direct route across it. I don't think it's the heat of the cement they are avoiding either, because they walk on the driveway, just all the way up to the top, cross it there, and then all the way back down!
I'm hoping they don't completely decimate my garden and am only slightly heartened by the fact that when they were actively harvesting leaves off the other tree last week, they seemed to reach some agreed upon stopping point that left a fair amount of leaves on the tree.
Bill Mollison, the bewhiskered grandpappy of permaculture, when describing a garden beset upon by slugs, declared there was no slug problem, but rather a duck deficiency.
So, channeling Bill, I now have to determine the deficiency and shift the balance, but soon, because before you know it will be fall and I have trees to plant!