Subject: queen ants?
Location: grand rapids, mi
May 30, 2014 10:45 pm
The past few days we’ve been seeing these things all over after sundown. They look like carpenter ants but are more than twice the size of the carpenter ants we see during the day. Some have wings, some don’t. They have a ring of fine hairs around their bottoms, a single node, etc. But if they are queens then why are there so many? And why would we only see them at night?
Signature: dave

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant

Hi Dave,
We agree that this is a Carpenter Ant and you can compare your individual to this Alate in the genus
Camponotus that is pictured on BugGuide.  Winged swarming ants are known as alates, and they are produced in quantity by an old colony.  Once a virgin queen mates, she will loose the wings and begin a new colony.  One reason so many are produced by a single colony is that many fall prey to predators, like the image of what appears to be a Cobweb Spider in the family Theridiidae feeding on a winged alate Carpenter Ant.  According to BugGuide:  “Mating flights of the majority of species occur late April-May,” however, the time of day of the flights is not listed.

Carpenter Ant Alate eaten by Spider

Carpenter Ant Alate eaten by Cobweb Spider

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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

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