What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Katydid wasp party?
August 9, 2009
When I went out onto our deck this morning, I was greeted by a swarm of these small black insects. They seem to be congregating around our grill. After determining they didn’t seem to be intent on stinging us, my wife and I pulled out the flyswatters and began clearing the area. Yeah, this probably qualifies as unnecessary carnage, but there was no way we could enjoy our deck with 50 or so of them buzzing about.
From my searching, I think it’s a katydid wasp. There doesn’t seem to be much information about them other than lots of pictures. Should I be looking for a nest nearby?
John
Marion, IA

Flying Ant, we presume

Male Flying Ant

Hi John
This is not a Katydid Wasp.  We believe it is a reproductive Flying Ant, but we need assistance as to the family, genus and or species.  We will solicit assistance in this matter.  The jury is still out regarding Unnecessary Carnage as there may have been a justifiable reason to remove this nuptial swarm.  We have been getting so much heat lately in the Unnecessary Carnage arena that we don’t want to be hasty in this situation.

Flying Ant:  Justifiable death or not???

Flying Ant: Justifiable death or not???

Update from Eric Eaton
You’re welcome.
Yes, the winged ant is a male, subfamily Formicinae….looks like genus Formica.  What the person describes is swarming behavior (aka “nuptial flight”) that was probably a “one night only” event.
Eric

Thanks Eric,
We will link to the genus Formica on BugGuide.  Ants perform a vital service with regards to the balance of nature, and native ants are often compromised by the introduction of exotic species that throw things out of balance, like the introduction of Argentine Sugar Ants in many places of the world.  We don’t believe these mating ants constituted a threat, and if killing them could have been avoided by sweeping them out of the way, or by some other means, that was probably a better alternative to swatting.

Unnecessary Carnage Comment
August 9, 2009
RE: unnecessary carnage
I love your site, and visit it several times a day. Many thanks for posting such lovely images and so much information (you helped me ID a one-eyed Sphinx moth here in Seattle)! I also love the fact that you tell folks when they have committed an act of unnecessary carnage, but sadly, you have been very hesitant to do so lately… Please don’t let one or two unhinged people keep you from providing a vital service- letting humans know that insects are innocent until proven guilty!
Leah S.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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