I saw a great picture of green ants industriously constructing a nest in a picture belonging to an article in ‘The Conversation’ yesterday. The picture reminded me of the fact that this species, once prolific around Darwin’s suburbs, has all but gone. They were excellent fertilisers of plants. Their nest were visible in many trees in Darwin’s suburbs. Now you have to go bush to find them nd they are becoming scarcer and scarcer.
I haven’t seen green ants in trees in yards, in trees along roadsides and in any other place where they were once so prolific for at least five years.
Green ants are being harvested to go into Green Ant Gin, exotic cheeses and other foods. Green ants are fodder for this industry that is drawing accolades because of its niche market appeal. People go out, knock nest out of trees, gather up the nest and ants into bags and take them away for processing. Hundred and thousands of any colonies are being decimated for the sake of human taste buds.
But unless there is a breeding and replacement program put in place, the food and beverage industry they support, may well decimate this species of insect. And that will be the end of an industry more intent on consuming rather than replacing its primary source of ingredient.