Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
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Subject: what is this
Location: Melbourne Australia
April 13, 2015 8:56 pm
what is this bug
Signature: Julie

Bulldog Ant Alate

Bulldog Ant Alate

Dear Julie,
This is a Bulldog Ant or Bull Ant in the genus
Myrmecia, and it is a winged reproductive individual known as an Alate.  According to the Australian Museum site:  “Bull ants are large, alert ants that can grow up to 40 mm  They have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles and a potent venom-loaded sting. They have superior vision, able to track and even follow intruders from a distance of 1 metre. Many species of bull ants have bright red or orange colours on the head or abdomen.”  The site also states:  “These ants can deliver painful stings and are aggressive. An ice pack or commercially available spray may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought.”  There is also an image on Oz Animals.

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Subject: looks like an ant/wasp???
Location: Inverness, FL
April 10, 2015 7:34 am
I live in Inverness, FL. I just started noticing these bugs in the last few days. They are everywhere. I just went to the gas station and they were covering the pumps and the awning over the pumps. Then I came home and they are all over the outside of my house and under the roof overhang. What are they? Do they bite or sting? There were hundreds of them at the gas station. There are so many that it reminds me of when the love bugs swarm twice a year. Thank you!
Signature: concerned mom

Ant Alate

Female Carpenter Ant Alate

Dear concerned mom,
These are winged, reproductive Ants, known as Alates.  It appears that you have submitted images of both a male and a female Carpenter Ant Alate.  The individual with the longer, thinner antennae is a male, which we matched to this image on BugGuide of a male Red Carpenter Ant,
 Camponotus castaneus.  When conditions are right, Ants from the same species will mate at approximately the same time, helping to ensure that there is some crossing between different colonies which diversifies the gene pool.  We cannot state with certainty the species, but we are rather confident we have the genus Camponotus correct.  Though a bite may occur if they are carelessly handled, these Carpenter Ants are not considered to be dangerous.

Male Carpenter Ant Alate

Male Carpenter Ant Alate

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Subject: Curious red forest ants with prey
Location: Cherokee County, NC
April 4, 2015 10:51 am
Photo was taken on 1st April 2015
Here are some odd red ants that I’ve never been able to identify. They seem to be about a uniform ~6-7mm in body length. I’ve only found these in rather specific environments; mixed deciduous forest in Western NC/ North GA with plenty of moist rotted logs and tree stumps. Tree stumps in particular with abandoned insect and carpenter ant tunnels seem to be their favorite; they take up residence in the old tunnels and clean them out to their liking. Colonies I’ve seen seem small with maybe a few hundred individuals at most, though to my recollection I’ve never seen a queen amongst the ones I’ve stumbled upon.
They seem to be primarily carnivorous; when I do find them there’s usually several small groups hauling various forest floor insects like crickets and beetle larvae into their tunnels. The ones in the photo here had what might be a newly-molted cricket nymph.
One distinct aspect is that their movement is rather different from other ants I’ve encountered; they seem to more more slowly/methodically, like the way an assassin bug moves. Even when disturbed they’re more slow to scurry about.
Finally, I couldn’t take a photo that included it but there’s a slight but rather distinct berry-red adularescence/schiller effect to the back of their abdomens when they’re in the light. For some reason my camera failed to capture it.
Signature: Jacob H

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Dear Jacob,
We are posting your ant image and labeling it unidentified.  We are also featuring the posting.  We hope to be able to provide you with an identification soon.

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

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Subject: Boring insect larvae in SoCal Mimosa tree
Location: Escondido, California
March 22, 2015 4:13 pm
We planted a Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin, a.k.a. Silk Tree) 6 weeks ago, and it just started budding out during the recent warm weather. Unfortunately, we are also now seeing insect larvae coming out of some of the small branches. Now that we know what to look for, we see dried up wounds in other parts of the tree, presumably from a previous season’s larval activity. The attached photo, showing active larvae, is of a branch about 1/2 inch in diameter. Can you identify this insect, and do you know of any treatment?
We are in Escondido, CA, which is 20 miles north of San Diego and 10 miles inland.
Thanks!
Signature: Joe Rowley

Mealybug Nymphs and Argentine Ant in attendance.

Mealybug Nymphs and Argentine Ant in attendance.

Dear Joe,
These are not wood boring insects.  They are nymphs of plant parasitic Hemipterans, most probably Mealybugs in the family Pseudococcidae.
  You can use BugGuide for comparison.  It appears that is a vile Argentine Ant in attendance.  The invasive, exotic Argentine Ant will move plant parasitic Hemipterans from plant to plant, and they tend to them and protect them.  We believe the plant was damaged, and the wound provided a food source for the nutrient sucking Mealybugs.

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Subject: Plagued by bugs!!
Location: Newcastle nsw
January 24, 2015 7:57 am
Hi there,
I live in Newcastle nsw Australia and have been plagued by bugs for the past 6 months. They are irritating my skin and my partners. We get itchy and have open sores all over our bodies, mainly just behind our ears and on the neck, legs, arms, face, back, hands and feet, well everywhere! We had pest control come and exterminate what he believed to be bird mites several types he said, funnily enough he wouldn’t come back again because he was tired and won’t take our calls now . Initially the problem died down but now 2 months later is back full force, it’s not scabies, it’s possibly a million other things but we can’t seem to find any help with this. Tonight I was in the bathroom and this long spindly legged thing appeared from nowhere, I know I have seen it several times around the house but have no idea what it is and if it could be a factor in the skin dilemma.
Signature: Rachel

Unknown Hymenopteran

Possibly Red Spider Ant Alate

Dear Rachel,
We are relatively certain that the pictured insect is not responsible for your skin irritation, and we believe that Mites are most likely the problem.  The pictured insect is a member of the order Hymenoptera which includes wasps and ants.  We are leaning toward it being the alate of an Ant, a winged reproductive individual, though the legs are quite long for a typical ant.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide us with a more definitive identification.  Again, we do not believe this Hymenopteran is related to your skin condition.  This individual does resemble the Red Spider Ants pictured on the Brisbane Insect website.

Unknown Hymenopteran

Possibly Red Spider Ant Alate

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Subject: Species name
Location: Kimberley Sout Africa
November 17, 2014 1:37 am
Hi!
I am trying to make preserved specimens of bugs in our area for a laboratory. It is important to have information of the specimen which will enable the students to learn from these specimens. I was hoping you could help me with the species name of each.
Signature: Odette du Plessis

Red Driver Ant

Red Driver Ant

Dear Odette,
The quality of your images is quite poor, and we do not believe we will be able to give you an accurate species identification on either the Scarab Beetle in the family Scarabaeidae or the Preying Mantis.  Your third insect looks very much like a male Driver Ant or Sausage Fly in the genus
Dorylus.  You can view additional images of Red Driver Ants on the iSpot website.  As an aside, we find it curious that you are mounting your specimens on glass slides like microscope specimens instead of on pins like most insect specimens.

Hi! Thank you for trying to help me identify the species. I am sure your information will steer me in the right direction. They are on glass slides as I intend placing them in glass jars filled with alcohol. I found this recipe for mounting insects. I would have sent it to you just to show you, unfortunately the information is in afrikaans. How do you prevent insects that are mounted with pins from going mouldy and becoming brittle and breaking? Thank you once again for the information. Odette

Hi again Odette,
Insects do dry out when they are mounted on pins.  We do not have a collection, so we are not prepared to relay the necessary steps for mounting insects, but that information should be readily available in books or online.

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