Subject: Unknown Insect Behaviour
Location: Southern North Carolina
August 20, 2017 5:17 am
Friends of ours down in S. North Carolina had a strange phenomenon this weekend. A long writhing, living, rope of insects in mid-air. None of us have ever seen this before and are wondering A) what these flying insects are, and B) what causes this behavior (mating maybe)?
You guys are great, thanks!!
This is surely a strange phenomenon. Our initial guess is that they must be Gnats or Midges, and we are going to attempt to provide a more conclusive response for you. We wish there was more detail in the close-up image. We can’t even tell if these flying insects have two wings or four wings. Flies in the order Diptera, the group that includes Gnats and Midges, have one pair of wings while other insects, like swarming Flying Ants, have two sets of wings.
P.S. Were they dead or alive? They appear dead.
They were alive. I couldn’t get the video he has up on FB, but they are definitely moving. They are joined somehow, very odd. Want me to see if they’ll share the video?
Update from Eric Eaton: August 25, 2017
No idea what the insects are. I’d have to see specimens or at least microscope images.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Update: August 26, 2017
Finally! I hope these don’t get kicked back due to size. If so, I’ll throw them up on DropBox and send you the link.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for sending in the videos. Normally we don’t post videos to our site so we hope we did it correctly. We believe these are Flying Ants, which is what they appear to be in the close-up video. The wide angle video shows many swarming insects near the “rope” of insects. Perhaps they have gotten ensnared in the sticky strands of a spider web.