Our yard here in Champaign is about the size of a postage stamp, but it is in an older part of town and the ant fauna isn’t half bad. In moving up from Tucson I’ve traded my desert harvester ants for a more midwestern fauna. Here’s what I uncovered yesterday in a few minutes of looking around:
Formica pallidefulva group sp.
Tetramorium “sp. E”
As a rule of thumb, older parts of town are better for ant diversity than newer developments. I’ve found this pattern nearly everywhere I’ve lived. The initial disturbance to put in development is severe: removal of trees, bulldozing, paving, seeding with dense turfgrass. Ant communities can take decades to rebuild, and they typically have to do it in the face of the pesty introduced species that thrive in new developments.
There are other reasons live in older neighborhoods, of course. Better architecture, for one. But I like the richness of a more mature ecological community.