Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
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Subject: These aren’t salamanders!
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
April 25, 2016 9:32 am
Hi BugMan,
I was recently on a salamander hunt in an urban forest environment when I came across the following nest under a rock. I leaned in close and was surprised to see that the round white ones had legs (and antennae) and were not just larvae as I had thought. I’ve included two photos: the first being the overall view of the hole beneath the rock and the second a closer view of the larvae (?).
We’ve had some issues in the recent past in the Halifax region in Nova Scotia with fire ants creeping up and I thought I may have come across one of their nests while in the woods (“woods” used very loosely as I can see houses if I squint and hear the highway in close proximity). After spending awhile searching through the life cycles of various ant types, I then wondered if perhaps I had happened across ants feeding upon the larvae of another insect. I’m hoping you’re able to clear up my my confusion, but in the meantime I’ll keep searching – maybe the actual paper insect ID book might be helpful.
If it makes any difference, the area where I found the nest is a few metres away from a small area of wetland and we have had a relatively mild winter so there was not a lot of snow melt.
Signature: NatureGirl

Citronella Ants tend Root Aphids

Citronella Ants tend Root Aphids

Dear NatureGirl,
You have happened across Ants, but instead of “feeding upon the larvae of another insect” they are harvesting honeydew from Aphids.  We did not recognize either your yellow ants or the white Aphids, so we searched on the web and quickly found the Cornell blog New York State IPM Program and a posting of Citronella Ants caring for or tending Root Aphids.  The site states:  “The life and habits of citronella ants aren’t well-studied, but they do have one fascinating trait. They tend herds of underground aphids, known as root aphids as if they were cattle, and harvesting sweet honeydew excreted by the sap-loving aphids. Root aphids feed on the roots of shrubs and plants.”  Additional images and information can be found on Wild About Ants, Scientific American and BugGuide.  

Citronella Ants tend Root Aphids

Citronella Ants tend Root Aphids

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Sawfly or ant drone?
Location: Brazos County, Texas, USA
March 27, 2016 4:37 pm
Hello! I had asked Texas A&M as well but I’ll ask here as well. We did a catch-and-release of what looked like a sawfly last night (well, failed release because the door was still open and it flew back into the light, so we’re still checking the house for a body).
My stepfather is still moving his own photos and videos off his cameras, but the jaws seem to match a sawfly, the eyes seemed proportionately large, and the thorax was prominently hunched. I compared to other photos I saw of sawflies, but the abdomen was longer. It was maybe an inch and a half long.
A&M agreed that it looked like a sawfly, so we narrowed down our own image searches for an exact match; but when we did happen to find an exact match, the page did not say “sawfly,” it said “red driver ant.” We looked that insect up, and it did indeed match the dorylus drone perfectly… except, that’s an African army ant… so now I’m really hoping we didn’t just catch and release evidence of an invasive species.
Any input you have will be greatly appreciated, and if you respond, I’ll try to send you the macros from my stepfather as soon as possible.
Signature: M. Sidney Beal

Legionary Ant

Legionary Ant

Dear M. Sidney Beal,
Please forgive us the long delay.  Our tiny staff cannot answer all the mail we receive and we are currently going through older identification requests for interesting postings, and your posting has us quite excited.  We are also struck by the resemblance to the Middle Eastern Sausage Fly, a male Driver Ant in the genus
Dorylus.  Searching that lead, we believe this is a male Legionary Ant in the genus Neivamyrmex, based on this and other images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, Legionary Ants and other Army Ants in the Tribe Ecitonini have “huge, wingless queens and wasplike males unlike those of any other ants.”  We would not discount that it is another member of the family, but the Legionary Ants seem to be the most common.

This is actually great timing! My suspicions were right that it died inside the house, and my stepfather just today found the body. Minus one antenna, it seems to be otherwise intact, and we now have it in a jar for safekeeping. When we have new photos taken, I’ll forward any my family sends me.
After I last responded to A&M, their ant expert also seemed to agree that it’s most likey a neivamyrmex. Thank you for responding.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Singapore
February 20, 2016 6:22 pm
We think this is a type of ant. Do you know it’s species?
Found indoors in our home in Singapore. Humid and hot all year around.
Signature: Pippa

Queen Green Tree Ant

Queen Green Tree Ant

Dear Pippa,
This looks to us like a queen Green Tree Ant,
Oecophylla smaragdina.  You can see the stubs where her wings were attached.  Flying Ants are reproduction kings and queens and the queen loses her wings once she has mated.  She will now begin a new colony.  According to Termites and Ants:  “Oecophylla smaragdina nests can be quite extensive covering several trees over a few acres. These nests are made of leaves woven together with ants’ silk secreted by the larvae. Some workers pulled leaves together while other workers each with a larva in its mandibles ‘glue’ the leaves together, with the ant silk secreted by these larvae, to formed a shelter where the brood are housed.”

Thank you!
May I ask, would she have been far from the nest she would be building? Should I be searching around our home to make sure there is not a huge ant colony about to be running through our home?
I read somewhere that sometimes the nests can be built in eaves on roofs etc, not just trees.
We live opposite a Giant part with lots of massive trees.  We released her there.  We do not have any trees overhanging our house but just want to make sure we are not neglecting to search for a pending ant infestation.
She was found in my son’s bedroom just walking across the floor.  My gut is that she was ‘brought in’ with something.  But now I’m wondering, at what point would she have lost her wings.  Could she have accidentally have flown in, and only just have lost her wings since being in our home?
Sorry for so many questions.
Thank you again for your help,

Hi again Pippa,
What we are about to write is based on speculation, and not about any research we have done on the Green Tree Ants.  We suspect this is a newly mated queen that has not yet set up a new colony.  We believe after her nuptial flight, she landed near your home, not an ideal site to construct her nest.  Your believe that she lost her wings either just prior to entering your home or after landing on a window sill is entirely possible.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: is this an ant or flower wasp
Location: joondalup, perth western australia
December 3, 2015 4:07 pm
Hey
I am new to the ant keeping workd and found this bug not sure if it is a wasp or ant hopefully you might be able to help.
Thanks
Dave
Signature: david bandy

Flightless Female Flower Wasp

Ant

Hi Dave,
We certainly are getting plenty of Australian sightings now that your summer is approaching.  This sure looks like the same species of flightless, female Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae pictured on the Australian Museum website where it states:  “The body of female flower wasps is adapted for digging.”

Correction:  Ant not Wasp
We received a comment correcting our identification.  Seems this is an Ant in the subfamily Ponerinae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hematophagous insect Brazil
Location: Rio de Janeiro
November 29, 2015 3:06 am
Dear bugman, a friend of mine in Brazil is quite desperate because of an insect that at night bite her causing massive allergic reactions. She would like to know what insect it is and how to repellent it.
It look like an unt with wings or a black wasp. The wings have a yellowish tone. I am attaching some pictures.
Thank you very much
Signature: Dr Mirko P.

Possibly Flying Ant

Possibly Flying Ant

Dear Dr. Mirko P.,
There is not enough detail in any of the attached images to make an identification beyond the insect order Hymenoptera, which includes both ants and wasps.  Many people are allergic to stings from Hymenopterans. We are certain of two things.  One is that no ants or wasps are hematophagous or blood-sucking insects.  The other is that the individual in your image appears to have met an untimely end, prompting us to tag this as Unnecessary Carnage, though we understand that someone who is bitten or stung by a creature would want it identified if there is a “massive allergic reaction” associated with the bite or sting, and that possession of the actual creature might be the only way to secure an identification.  It is also possible that the sting, because that is what we are suspecting happened, occurred after swatting an ant or wasp that landed on your friend.  Swatting may be a natural reaction, but that is also a really good reason to prompt a bite or sting from a spider or insect.  The best way to remove the unwanted critter is to blow it off.  We would suggest your local Natural History Museum as a good place to have the actual specimen identified.  There is some difficultly in your acting as the middle man in this identification request.  We are also curious if the individual Hymenopteran pictured is the actual culprit.  You stated your friend was bitten at night.  Many true hematophagous insects bite at night, including Bed Bugs and Kissing Bugs.  Kissing Bugs found in Brazil are known to spread Chagas Disease.

Dear Daniel,
This is what my friend told me.
She is positive that this insect is biting/stinging her.
She admitted that she’s not sure about the insect drinking her blood, but she was assuming so.
The reaction is almost immediate with little or no delay after the biting/stinging.
She is also positive that is not a Chagas Disease and I tend to trust her judgement.
I suggested her to visit a doctor to control the allergic reaction.
She told me that for weeks she had hundreds of these insects invading her house at sundown.
She fixed mosquito mesh on her house windows and doors but they were crawling in by the roof she suspects.
She assure me that the biting/stinging was not provoked by her killing but it was the other way around and that if there was any carnage she was the victim not the executioner.
She told me that a couple of days ago there has been a drastic reduction in temperature and it started to rain. This stopped the invasion.
Now, can it be that these insects were  swarming, perhaps to find a mate or a nesting site in a particular “good” season?
Best,
Mirko

Thanks for the update Mirko,
All ants and many wasps are social creatures, and based on the new information, we surmise that this is either an ant alate, the reproductive winged males and females that swarm and start new colonies, or a worker wasp, the sterile females that tend to the queen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp, Ant, Other?
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
August 25, 2015 3:07 pm
I have been seeing this bugs around my place and I would like to know what they are? Where are they hiding in my house? Should I be concerned?
Signature: James

Carpenter Ant Alate

Carpenter Ant Alate

Dear James,
This looked to us like a Carpenter Ant alate, the winged caste of reproductive males and females that embark on a nuptial flight to mate and begin new colonies.  We suspect they may be coming from within your house and when they emerged, they found themselves indoors instead of outside.  We once had a colony living in gorgeous, old cedar floor to ceiling paneling in a Highland Park, Los Angeles bungalow, and each year they would emerge.  The head on your individual seemed small compared to most images we have seen, but we found a matching image labeled “Male carpenter ant,
Camponotus sp., Massachusetts” on the BugEric blog.  BugGuide lists the genus throughout North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination