Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Bulldog Ant

Bulldog Ant

Subject: an insect & an arachnid
Location: melbourne, australia; auckland, new zealand
October 6, 2014 4:22 am
hi folks! you helped me with a bug once before, & i absolutely love your site – hoping you can ID these two critters from my trip to australia & new zealand this month.
the ant is about 5/8″ long & was found on the great ocean road, about 170 miles west of melbourne, australia.
the 1/2″ long spider was found on my neck in auckland, new zealand. :)
the third ant i believe i’ve correctly ID’d as a bulldog ant, but the photo came out so nice that i figured i’d submit it, too.
keep up the great work, you wonderful people.
Signature: lish d

Unknown Australian Ant

Unknown Australian Ant

Dear lish d,
We love your image of a Bulldog Ant.  According to National Geographic Magazine:  “Fearless and belligerent, the inch-long bulldog ant of Australia uses her sharp vision and venomous stinger to track and subdue formidable prey.  Picture a wasp with its wings ripped off, and you’ll have a good approximation of a bulldog ant. The resemblance is no coincidence: Ants are believed to have evolved from wasplike ancestors some 140 million years ago. The bulldog ant has long been considered one of the oldest ant lineages. But some recent studies suggest that bulldogs appeared no earlier than 100 million years ago, along with an explosion of other ant species that may have accompanied the rise of flowering plants. ”  We are unable to identify the creatures in your other two images, and we are posting the unidentified and rather forgetable other Ant which one of our readers may eventually be able to identify.
  We will not be adding the spider image to this posting as they are not categorized together in our archives, they are not from the same country, and we don’t want to speculate if they met one on one.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Ant Alates

Ant Alates

Subject: Is it a wasp??
Location: central Iowa
October 8, 2014 4:25 pm
These bugs are in our garage. They seem to be falling from the roof. About a month ago this happened and they reappeared today. The swarm appeared quickly and once I opened the door they flew out eventually. They look like flies but not quite. We have had a wasp nest it that area in the past. If you can figure something out that would be great! I looked it up and found a cicada killer that looked similar. Thank you!
Signature: Miranda

Hi Miranda,
Mistaking for wasps these flying Ants, which are members of the reproductive caste known as Alates, is understandable since Ants and Wasps are both classified in the order Hymenoptera.  Since you had two swarms appear in your garage, we deduce there is at least one colony living within the footprint of the garage.

MaryBeth Kelly liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this an ant war? I’ve never seen one before…
Location: Meadowview, VA, USA
August 25, 2014 6:26 am
I took my son to school this a.m. and in the 10 minutes it took me to go and come back, this swarm of wingless ants appeared on the edge of my driveway (it was not there when we left). There are several “puddles” of ants along the edge of the driveway where it meets the lawn, with trails of ants moving between them like little rivers. Up close there appears to be one on one fighting, with the big puddles being the “winners?” swarming around on top of immobile “losers?”… on the edges of the “puddles” there are individual ants wandering around, but other than size (a few are much smaller than the others, but all of them are fairly small ants) they appear really similar to me– I can’t see an obvious two species fighting. Is this maybe that situation caused by wasp secretions, where they fight themselves? Or is it two or more colonies duking it out? I’ve sent several pictures from my phone– I hope at leas t one of them is good enough quality for you to identify world war 3 for me!! Thanks for your awesome site– I love to visit and learn new stuff!
Signature: Jeri Ward
I wasn’t sure which pix would be clearest, so I’m sending the rest in hopes at least one will be good enough to id.

Ant Swarm

Ant Swarm

Hi Jeri,
We are posting the clearest of the eight images you submitted.  Alas, we are not very good at Ant identification and we believe even an ant expert might have problems with an exact identification, but we have some thoughts.  Since these are small ants, two species that come to mind are both nonnative, invasive species, the Argentine Ant (which is reported on BugGuide from nearby North Carolina and Tennessee) and the Red Imported Fire Ants, which according to BugGuide:  “The Red Imported Fire Ant is the most aggressive and widespread of the fire ants found in North America. It was introduced from South America into the United States between 1933 and 1945. If their nest is stepped on, the workers rush out and sting the feet and legs of the intruder. Each sting results in a small, acutely painful wound that develops into a pustule in 24 to 48 hours. As the pustules heal they become itchy and can become infected. ”  Of the Argentine Ant, BugGuide states:  “Thought to have first arrived in the United States in coffee shipments in New Orleans around 1891.  A major pest in United States for several reasons: able to nest in diverse habitats, produces great numbers of individuals due to many reproductive queens in a colony, eats large variety of food (omnivorous diet), coexists amiably with other colonies of same species, exterminates competing native species of ants wherever they occur, and invades homes in large numbers in search of food and water.  When established in an area, the number of individuals is mind boggling, with large files of workers running up and down trees, on fences, on the ground, and everywhere else; considered one of the most persistant and troublesome of house-infesting ants.”  We believe this is either linked to swarming activity and the emergence of winged alates, or perhaps something else caused a colony to come above ground, like perhaps flooding.  Did you water the lawn earlier?  We apologize for not being much help.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN
August 21, 2014 5:30 pm
Please tell me what these are? There are thousands of them flying all over my yard!
How do I get rid of them?
Signature: Creeped out in MN

Our automated response:
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!

So… does that mean that I should wait to get an answer or that you can’t answer my question? ?

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

Dear Creeped out in MN,
You received our automated response so that you would know that your inquiry arrived in our email box, and that response means exactly what it states, that:  “We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can!”  We also cannot promise additional instant gratification beyond our automated response which should help to clarify the level of expectations that many people have with regards to the internet.  You don’t have to wait to get a response from us.  You can go about your daily life and perhaps even seek out other resources for providing the answers you seek.  We actually hope that folks don’t sit by the computer or impatiently watch the screens of their portable communication devices since we get inquiries at all hours of the day from all parts of the world, and we do not staff our site 24 hours a day.  We can never guarantee that we will be able to answer questions posed to us, and we have no certified authorities, meaning no actual entomologists with degrees who are on our small staff, however we frequently do have professionals who provide input, identifications and corrections for us.
With that stated, we will now attempt to the best of our ability to respond to your initial questions.  This is a flying ant, commonly called an Alate, which is the reproductive component of an ant colony.  There must be a nearby ant nest that resulting in this nuptial swarm that you witnessed.  Alates, which are virgin queen and newly matured male ants, swarm and leave the colony when conditions are ideal, often on a sunny day following a rain.  They mate and start new colonies.  The swarm should only last a day or two, and if you never noticed the ant nest prior to the swarm, you will probably again return to a state of blissful ignorance to the natural world around you.  Your individuals look very much like this image we found on FlickR that might be in the genus
Lasius, and this account is given for the sighting:  “Early September must have been the mating season for this ant species. Thousands of alate (wing-bearing) virgin queen and male ants were emerging from nest entrances, warming up their wings. They climbed up leaves, mounds of earth, stems, and branches before taking to the air in search of mates from another colony. The countless workers, wingless and small compared to the queens, did not stray far from the winged reproductives and were probably guarding them from predators that would regard the queen’s egg-filled abdomens as nutritious snacks.”  Here is another image from Minnesota on BugGuide, where the genus is identified as Cornfield Ants or Citronella Ants.  In response to your question “How do I get rid of them?”, we do not provide extermination advice.

Ant Alate

Ant Alate

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: can you help naming thes bugs?
Location: Central Florida
July 15, 2014 5:26 pm
we own a pool in Florida and these bugs are in the thousands in my pool and I cant identify them I was wondering if you can help me with my problem. I am sending you a picture of them hoping you can tell me what they are. If you can identify them and help me I am very appreciative thanks.
Signature: na

Ants

Ants

Dear na,
If you want an identification, you should try to provide us with a high quality image, not a low resolution, tiny file.  These appear to be Ants.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Swarming Dragonflies
Location:  Corralitas Red Car Property, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California
July 15, 2014 11:03 AM
This morning on our walk of the Corralitas Red Car Property with Diane, we also saw several California Harvester Ant nests, including this very active site.  California Harvester Ants are indicator species which is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as being an:  “organism—often a microorganism or a plant—that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale.”  The disappearance of California Harvester Ants in Los Angeles is directly related to the loss of open space due to overdevelopment, and as the California Harvester Ant is a primary source of food for Horned Lizards, they have also vanished from our local ecosystems.

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

California Harvester Ant Nest

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination