Living In The Nature Channel

Sometimes life in Panama is like being a part of The Nature Channel. Like when you catch sight of a stunningly colorful bird flitting through the foliage in your yard, or when you see something like this:

There are several destructive insects we have to deal with here. One is a very large, black and yellow grasshopper that eats about any kind of leaf around and I often find a bunch of them happily feasting away on the foliage in the yard. I’ve found an insecticide called Dos Tigres (Two Tigers) that knocks them out almost instantly. The leaf cutter ants are exceptionally destructive, especially to citrus trees and can strip them bare in a matter of days. This is a problem for me since there are three citrus trees in my yard including a very productive lime tree. I harvest the limes nearly daily and they make a wonderfully refreshing drink.

Recently these ants have been attacking two of my trees. I sprayed their paths and nests with the Dos Tigres and within a couple of hours all activity had ceased, and there’s been no indication of their return. Parts of the trees that had been stripped of leaves are now showing new shoots. But I’m not so naïve as to believe new colonies won’t take hold. Eternal vigilance is the key.



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3 responses to “Living In The Nature Channel

  1. I just love those guys!! Thanks for sharing!
    Yeah, they seem cool until you look up one morning and they’ve stripped a quarter of your tree of its leaves overnight.

  2. indacampo

    We don’t seem to have a problem here with them for some reason, but my friend who lives a half hour down the coast has a heck of a time trying to control them. They stripped everything in her garden and then started on the gigantic papaya tree. It’s impossible for her to find all their nests because there is a huge spans of land next to her that isn’t maintained very well. Good luck with the little critters!

  3. I think those huge grasshoppers are totally cool! I have to restrain my neighbor from killing them though. I just toss them into the woods since we don’t seem to have many and they haven’t caused any trouble. The leaf cutter ants though, that’s another story. While we were gone they ate one of my guandu plants and half an orange tree. My neighbors recommended pellets that they carry into the nest – mirex I think it is. It seems to work in a couple days though like you said, you have to be always on watch because there will be more coming. Where did you find the Dos Tigres? Melo?

    I’ve found Dos Tigres at both El Rey and Romero. It’s in a green can with red lettering and a yellow top. I bought Mirex at Melo. $4.75 for a 1lb. bag, but I haven’t used it yet. The heavy spraying of Dos Tigres stopped the infestation for now. But they’ll be back. This is the third time they’ve attacked my trees. The only problem I foresee with the Mirex, aside from it’s being a bio hazard, is that it has be dry to be effective and that’s a hard thing to do now in the middle of the rainy season.