Carpenter Ant Alates

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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