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Ant farm - Formica subsericea

Ant farm - Formica subsericea
Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, USA
August 2, 2009
Ants tending to growths on a prunus. I thought they were aphids, but I don't see any legs or other appendages. What am I looking at?

Moved from Ants.

Moved from Plant-parasitic Hemipterans.
Neat--I'd heard of extrafloral nectaries on tropical plants, but didn't realize that there were conspicuous ones on North American Prunus spp.

Extra-floral nectaries occur
Extra-floral nectaries occur on a wide variety of our native plants, especially, but by no means exclusively, in legumes, Rosaceae, Bignoniaceae, Passiflora, and composites. Petiolar nectaries of many legumes are often quite conspicuous.

These are not insects -- they are extrafloral nectaries, which produce fluids like nectar that ants like. The story goes that these attract ants which protect the plant from herbivores....

Moved from ID Request. There are no known galls resembling this on Prunus, so these must be scale insects or something along those lines...

Not sure -
ants can also tend scale insects (one possibility here) and galls. I'm guessing these are some sort of soft scale insect, but I really don't know. Let's hope we get a comment from one of our experts... Nice image! It might help if you know the species of Prunus?

They are the suckering rootstock of a weeping Japanese cherry. I know what the top of the tree is called, but not the lowly bottom!

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