This week we have had armies of black ants marching single file along the length of our verandah… Miss 4 was alarmed and interested as is often the case with inquisitive little people and I told her what I had been told when I was small. Today, I know it to be true from observations. The ants are a sign that rain is coming 🐜🐜🐜🌧🌧🌧
Many believe that a change in ants behaviour can indicate that the weather may also be changing. You may notice that ant mounds begin popping up all over your lawn, or that the mounds that were already there start getting bigger. You may simply observe the armies of ants running. Inevitably they are looking for clean, dry shelter, which sometimes means they come inside. They are searching for food, and water of course, and as they travel, they leave a scent along the path to ensure they will be able to find their way back to the nest once the sun has dried out all the rain. ☀️☀️☀️
Similarly, a variety of cactus, found in Central Queensland but originally from Peru, has caught the attention of weather watchers and gardeners as it appears to have weather predicting abilities. It won’t replace the weather reporter anytime soon though, and has now been determined ‘a pest’ and ‘biosecurity risk’.
Earlier in the year, Bill Lane, from Emerald, a thriving rural service centre in the Central Highlands of Queensland, shared a picture of his cactus via social media which flowers before it rains. Well, obviously this sparked amazing interest from other gardeners who wanted to get a cutting of the plant, and see for themselves.
The ‘cereus uruguayanus’ is also known as Willow Cactus, night blooming cereus and the Peruvian Apple Cactus.
But like other species of cactus with delicious fruit that birds enjoy, the thousands of seeds within are spread easily. Cactus are plants that are able to survive in the most arid conditions, where very little else can, so these tough little guys can pop up everywhere, and have been, causing farmers great difficulties. This plant can be devastating for farmers, and many are pleading for people to be mindful of the consequences of sharing this species around.
This particular species has been on the list of priority pests since 2015, and whilst they have had some success with stem injection, physically injecting each plant stem in dense crops proves time consuming.
This cactus, as pretty as it is, is something we should avoid. These clues from Mother Nature herself may help those (like me) who are struggling to know when to hang the washing out, and when to cut your losses and head straight to the laundromat 😉:
Frogs croaking in the evening suggests rain. The louder the frogs, the more rain. 🐸
Ants build the walls of their anthills steeper when rain is on the way.🐜
Spiders retreat from their webs when rain is imminent. 🕷🕸
Cats clean their ears when rain is coming. 🐈
If there is dew on the grass in the morning, there is unlikely to be rain that day. ⛅️
Cattle lie down in the field when a severe storm is on its way. 🐄
The scent of flowering plants is stronger when rain is coming 🌸
A Halo around the moon at night (caused by the refraction is ice crystals in the upper atmosphere) suggest rain is going to fall within 24 hours. 🌝 🌛
Featured image L Church on Flickr