Hazy, hot and humid.

The sultry days of summer are upon us. When it is too hot to play or do any work, my favorite pastime is watching ants. Really! I find ants endlessly fascinating.

This year, for some reason ants have taken over my yard. I call it, "The Ant Subdivision." I can spend hours watching them rebuild their mounds, carry food and plant matter into their nests. Every once in awhile I'll see them dragging the body of another insect and then the bodies of their fallen comrades. I imagine the dead are a result of some battle that happened on another part of the yard, far from my curious eyes.

I would never use pesticides, because these tiny little insects are very important to the health of my yard, and our planet. The tunnels and nests ants build deep in the soil help carry oxygen and water to plant roots, thus helping them grow. The more plants equals more food for all. Other ways ants help is by keeping the population of some insects in control by eating them. Other animals, including toads and birds, love eating ants, too!

Here are two books that helped me learn more about ants: The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles Micucci and The Life Cycle of the Ant by Hadley Dyer & Bobbie Kalman.

Next time you visit the Library, tell me about your favorite pastime during summer.

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