Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
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

California Harvester Ants harvesting
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
June 24, 2014 5:18 PM
So, two weeks ago, we noticed some California Harvester Ants along a sunny, southwest facing slope, but we did not have a camera.  Today we returned and took some images.  Native Ants like the California Harvester Ants are being displaced by invasive exotic species like the dreaded Argentine Ants.

California Harvester Ant

California Harvester Ant

We were inspired by a recent submission of swarming California Harvester Ants from nearby Red Car Property in Silverlake.

California Harvester Ant

California Harvester Ant harvesting

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: California Harvester Ants
Location: Red Car Property, Silver Lake, Los Angeles
June 23, 2014 1:57 am
Hi Bugman,
I might of happened across some future queens leaving the nest of one of the Harvester Ant colonies on the north end of the Red Car Property in Silver Lake (Los Angeles).
The winged ants were 3 times larger than the small ants ushering them out of the nest. The workers using the main entrance fall somewhere between these two in size.
Unfortunately, while attempting to get a better shot, I cast a shadow over this entrance. The small ants quickly ushered the winged ants back into the nest, while others came out to defend against intruders. Mostly they just ran around posturing, and checking the perimeter, then returned to the nest
more: http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/2014/06/viaduct-footings-california-harvester.html
I was looking for references to Harvester Ants & was surprised (although I shouldn’t be) that they’ve disappeared from your neighborhood. We’ve got several thriving colonies on the north end of the Red Car Property. The colonies on the vacant lots on my part of the neighborhood have disappeared as the vacant Hillside lots have either been built or used for parking in the past 10 years.
As always, thanks!
Signature: Diane E

Swarming California Harvester Ants

Swarming California Harvester Ants

Hi Diane,
We are positively thrilled to get this marvelous addition to our site, especially since it sheds a bit of light on our failure to follow through with a posting we wanted to make regarding a Mount Washington sighting.  When we moved to Mount Washington in the mid 90s, we would often see California Harvester Ants in the street outside our house as well as on the nearby south facing hillside.  Then we moved to another nearby location in 2000, and we stopped seeing the California Harvester Ants, instead being plagued by the invasive Argentine Ants.  Local entomologist Julian Donahue cannot recall ever seeing California Harvester Ants in Mount Washington, so while walking to a friend’s house the second week in June when we espied a lone Harvester Ant on the sunny south facing slope near our old home, we decided we needed to return with a camera to document the sighting.  Alas, time ran out and it did not get it done, but it is still on the back burner.  Your submission has inspired our crack photographic staff to to head out later today to try to find some worker Harvester Ants in our own neighborhood.  We are happy to hear they are also thriving in nearby Silverlake.

Swarming California Harvester Ants

Swarming California Harvester Ants

Glad to help out – I had no idea you hadn’t seen them in so long.  But it makes sense with all the development over there.  I used to see a lot more 20 years ago all over my hood…

California Harvester Ant habitat on Red Car Property

California Harvester Ant habitat on Red Car Property

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Termite or ant?
Location: Maryland
June 6, 2014 4:25 pm
Literally out of nowhere (I didn’t see them an hour ago), we have hundreds of these. This is only about 1/3 of them. Just as quickly as they came, they went back under the wood porch. Termite or ant?! :( randomally there are also a few red fire ants mixed in without wings.
Signature: Jenn

Swarming Ants

Swarming Ants

Dear Jenn,
These are swarming Ants, and the winged individuals are alates, unmated reproductive individuals that will fly off, mate and begin new colonies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination