Saturday 8 September 2012

Queens and kings on the wing!

We've enjoyed a whole week of warm weather and no rain. Today, garden ant queen, Lasius niger,  that had already lost its wings, was running on the pavement, and on my local wildlife garden, nervous workers on the path made me look closer. When new winged queens and male ants are ready to emerge, workers follow them run frantically about. And emerging they were, for at least the third time this year, many queens and smaller numbers of male ants. Some queens were trying, unsuccessfully to fly straight from the ground, others, like the one above, reached for a higher point, to get a better chance to take to the wing.
Winged ant queen, Lasius niger, revving its wings on the ground
The couple of queens above started climbing a fence post while the workers followed them. Although many winged ants will eventually take to the sky, where they find their mates, a Zygiella x-notata web hung with entangled winged ants on top of this fence post. That spider is going to have a super dinner tonight.
 I have never seen flying ants this late in the year, have you seen any winged ants recently? The Society of Biology is carrying out a Flying ant Survey, where you can submit your records.

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