[IMAGE 3 of 4] Late winter/early spring nest maintenance. These Pogonomyrmex barbatus
workers were slowly bringing loads of sand/soil up from the depths of their nest. They appeared to be utilizing their psammophores
in some cases, and their mandibles
alone, in others - depending on the moisture content of the soil they were transporting. It had rained the day before these images were captured, and much of the soil was quite moist and clumped - allowing it to be easily picked up and carried in the mandibles of these workers (like a clump of sticky rice can be picked up with chopsticks). NOTE: This worker has just dropped her load of sand.