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Re: Yosemite Ants

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avatar Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 01:09PM
OK, there are big black ants, medium black ants, small black ants, big red ants, medium, small etc. and they pretty much seem to come around, look for crumbs and maybe some will crawl around on you but overall they are well behaved. No biting or stinging.

Now on two separate occasions this year a dear backpacking buddy and I had our gear swarmed by medium sized ants that; went after the sweaty parts of the packs or clothes, seemed to be able to hang on tightly with their little feet, would bite with their sharp little pinchers, and stink with some awful sweet sickly smell if you tried to pick them off with your fingers. They have a dark colored front part (insert some Latin word here) and a lighter colored back part (insert second Latin word here). They are also very fragile as when you pick them off of something with your fingers they will break open quite easily and stink up you fingers.

Anybody know anything about these critters? This year is the first time in over 25 years hiking in the park I've run in to these things.
Locations: Coming down from Smith Meadow towards the trailhead (stopped for a snack)on HH road at about 5000 feet and on Mt Condon at 5700 feet (camped).



Old Dude
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 01:30PM
Go to head of stack.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 01:49PM
Those rascals you encountered might be velvety tree ants?:

http://www.hydrexheat.com/pests/velvetytree.html
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 09:50PM
Billy has a great picture of these velvety guys, which sound like they are related to the NON-velvety pain-in-the-arse cousin, the Sweaty Ant. Actually, i did a little experiment and set out a cut of water....they swarmed all over it, so they are definitely looking for moisture. It reached a point of ridiculous when the stove and dishes had to be set over there, so the medium/small "normal" ants could do their clean-up thingy, and the clothes and water had to be set at another corner of the camp, so the crazy-arse red-butt-biters would swarm them.

I was actually wishing for mosquitoes, because at least the bug juice kept them from biting (If you stood still for a minute, you were swarmed by ants!)

Busy Bee
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 09:54PM
Did they have a long ovaly butt or a round butt?

If long and oval... then from my field guide my guess goes for:
Western Dracula Ant

Flat head. large jaws. oval booty. short legs.

???
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 09:59PM
I think it was an ovally butt, because it gives them the appearance of being even bigger than the average ant. The legs are not remarkable, so they could be classified as short. Definitely large jaws!

What does it say about them??
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 10:05PM
I wrote what it said... but... you can see it for yourself.
Got an Amazon account?
Log in.
Find the book "Laws Field Guide to Sierra Nevada"
Search inside the book
> type "Dracula"

there the ant is.

Is that it?
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 10:16PM
Nope -- don't think that this is the ant. I don't recall the butt being THAT ovally and almost segmented looking. Also, I don't recall the head looking so flat. It looks like the butt would be considered "round" by comparison...
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 10:22PM
Well.... did you get a picture?
If you got a picture we can find out by putting it up on that website I put the wasp on.
THOSE GUYS were incredible in identifying insects.

btw. Whatever the ant is... it must be afraid of chick-on and goats.
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 10:31PM
TOOO busy under seige to get a peeek-chure (it was that bad!) YUP, this ant steers clear of goaties or chick-ons.

BTW., today the Starbuck's coffee girl asked me if I wanted a STIR STICK in my hot chocolate!!! I answered "NO!!" a little to harshly for the moment...!!! (Goats can be holy terrors with the Starbuck's Stir Stick Weapon of Mass Annoyance!!)

Busy Bee

PS somebody go wake up MsCondron, so that maybe he remembers more than I do about the ants!
avatar Re: Yosemite Ants
July 06, 2009 11:02PM
Huh? Wha? I'm sorry. I had fallen asleep.



Old Dude
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