Hi Gabriolan.. The ants could be eating the immature spittle bugs..hidden inside the bubbles and foam.. Or taking them ( immature spittle bugs ) away, to store as food.. For the ants’ nest. Sometimes there is a mature spittle bug, hidden inside the foam..as well.. Easy prey for a grouping of ants.
* During the hot days we had.. awhile ago.. I felt a sharp nipping on my feet.. As I hung out my laundry on the lines , in between the trees in my back forest.. I looked down to see a number of red ants.. running across my sandals and bare feet. Those little ants really had quite the bite !
Here’s what it says: Some Pentatomidae, which is the scientific name of the family of stinkbugs or spittlebugs, produce honeydew. Trophobiosis is defined as “a symbiotic relation in which one organism protects the other in return for some kind of food product”. So the ants in Brazil that they discuss in the paper are apparently “farming” stinkbugs the same way they do with aphids. I wonder if that’s also happening on Gabriola? I did scope around a bit online to see if I could find any instance of this being described from BC, but no success so far.
for anyone who wants to read the abstract of the paper about Brazil, here it is
In this study we describe trophobiosis between ants and Eurystethus microlobatus (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) at a highland quartzite rocky outcrop in southern Espinhaço Range, southeastern Brazil. We found stinkbugs exclusively on the mistletoe Psittacanthus robustus (Loranthaceae). The stinkbug species is gregarious, forming dense clusters, with females guarding eggs and young nymphs. In addition, this species presents cryptic colouration and most individuals were located on roots and shoots, camouflaged within the bark. Eurystethus microlobatus produced honeydew by day and night, and four ant species attended aggregations: Camponotus rufipes, Camponotus crassus, Camponotus melanoticus and Cephalotes pusillus. Camponotus rufipes was the most frequent and aggressive, and the only species to attend the stinkbugs by day and night. This is the first documented case of trophobiosis between true bugs and ants in the New World.