Ants "milking" aphids. The ants tap the aphids with their antennae, and the aphids secrete honeydew for the ants. Some ant species even herd aphids (they even pick them up and move them), but I don't think these do. Secreting honeydew does not harm the aphids, and they benefit from the ants' presence, which deters potential predators.
Glossy-leafed shrub in a flowerbed next to my house. Right next to a patio area plagued by fire ant mounds.
I would appreciate ID help on both the aphids and the ants (especially the ants! There are just so many ant species.). I suspect they're probably fire ants, the invasive kind, since those are all over my yard. I really hope they're not, though, bc I like them and don't want to kill them (which I'd have to do since my husband is allergic). Rangers: I should probably split this into two spottings, right?
Lat: 33.97, Long: -83.57
Spotted on Apr 30, 2012
Submitted on May 4, 2012