(7 April 2017)Which creatures cause these mounds in our lawns? Spiders? Worms? Termites? No, the funnel ants are the culprits.
These little creatures live in a dense network of tunnels, getting most of their food from tended aphids on the roots of plants. Due to rain, soil washes into these tunnels and the ants make mud mounds to get rid of that soil, allowing air to flow though. The mounds dry out and help to stop flooding during the next shower.
When heavy rain leads to water entering the tunnel, it usually doesn’t go far. Ants tend to burrow at least a foot underground and have an intricate system of tunnels that work like storm drains. As long as the rainfall isn’t too heavy, the water will pass through the nest without pooling. Nevertheless, reconstruction always starts after rain.
Funnel Ants are only aggressive if their nest is disturbed; the sting is painful. An ice pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting.
Instead of focusing on the ants, or on the entrance to the mound, I chose a photo from ground level. It shows the size of the mounds itself. Using flash the different colour at the top of the mound, the bit added recently, was made visible. f/11 provided enough depth of field.