So enthralled with watching this army of ants at work, I only took this one picture of the pile of leaf pieces
left outside the entrance to their tunnel.
These ants were following the trail to home,
carrying pieces of leaves that, as you can see here,
were larger than the ants themselves.
It was quite a sight.
When I looked them up, I was amazed at what I learned.
These are fungus ants, found mainly
in the south central and eastern parts of Texas.
Basically, the worker ants bring pieces of leaves to the nest,
other worker ants chew them up into little pieces,
yet other worker ants carry them to the appropriate chambers up to 8 feet down (everyone has their own job to do),
where the chewed up leaves turn into a fungus.
They are cultivated fungus gardens for food,
with proper venting, and everything!
It's necessary to farm the gardens properly,
because, according to What's That Bug,
the population of one colony can number up to
2 million ants!
Their underground habitat can spread out to over 1/2 acre,
rendering them difficult to manage
and presenting a large problem to farmers,
who lose an estimated
$5 million annually to these hungry critters!
Homeowners aren't too crazy to share space with them, either!