Subject: Large flying brownish yellow ant…
Geographic location of the bug: SE Asia (prelude to monsoon season)
Time: 12:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello Bugman,
After hearing / seeing what I at first thought to be a V8 engine flying around my room – then the ‘engine’ eventually doing the inevitable ‘head butt the window, directly next to the opened one’ (which infact I bee’lieve he almost managed to push open anyway….) early this morning. I spent an hour getting over the shock of what I had just witnessed, I then used your very useful website to identify said visitor / early morning alarm clocks identification. I now know the ‘intruder’ was a fully grown ‘Capenter bee.’ – How lovely.
Quite a few days prior to this, I was visited by a very large flying ant(?) – light brown/yellow in colour and displaying a docile temperament (at first). After foolishly believing it would appreciate a small saucer of water, it took acception to this – took flight, and aimed its self directly at my ‘boat shed’ (that’s Cornish rhyming slang for “face”) with me well and truly in its flight path – it was trying to chew my nose and/or eyes off or out… I’m sure.
It eventually ‘banked’ around and flew out of the door – maybe me running away and screaming like a little school girl, was just too much for ant’y flyie thing ? (The picture was taken of it about to start trying to bite an 8mm rivet head off – for reference, ours; not it’s.)
Anyway; I hope you can help me identify it, it will also help me with the (Southern Vietnam) police report, if we do indeed know the species.
Thanking you in advance, I will look forward to your reply.
With kind regards
How you want your letter signed: Andy, 36 years 7 months.
Your submission is quite entertaining. We concur that the first visitor you mentioned is a Carpenter Bee, and we believe we have identified your flying Ant as a female alate Red Tree Dwelling Weaver Ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, thanks to the TermitesandAnts Blogspot where it states: “Oecophylla smaragdina is a common red tree dwelling weaver ant. The color is not definitive of the species as there are also those which are green. Oecophylla smaragdina are group hunters and individual ants are mostly ineffective against live prey except very small ones. … Oecophylla smaragdina nests can be quite extensive covering several trees over a few acres. These nests are made of leaves woven together with ants’ silk secreted by the larvae. Some workers pulled leaves together while other workers each with a larva in its mandibles ‘glue’ the leaves together, with the ant silk secreted by these larvae, to formed a shelter where the brood are housed.”