Currently viewing the category: "Ants"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is it a male or a queen ant?
August 19, 2009
Found on my patio crawling on leaf of silver morning glory. Now I know why suddenly there are ants in the house after 3 years. Best educated guess is that they came from soil and/or plants I purchased. Worker ants are dark brown or black with the same color and light yellow or white stripes on the stomach.
Pong A.
Bangkok, Thailand

Flying Ant from Thailand

Flying Ant from Thailand

Dear Pong,
This Flying Ant is one of the reproductive kings or queens as worker ants do not possess wings.  We haven’t much knowledge on Asian species but perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with an exact identification.
We are going to take a guess that this might be a reproductive Weaver Ant or Green Ant in the genus Oecophylla.  We did find a photo that seems to support that guess. Wikipedia also has an extensive pop culture page on the Green Ants of Thailand.

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Stung in my Bed!
August 8, 2009
I was crawling into the bed for the night, and something sharp poked me like a needle jabbed into my foot. I lifted up my sheets and a black flying thing hovered over my head. It was kinda like a carpenter ant that flys and stings, but I didnt get a close enough look. What was it?
Please help so I can see what treatment I need to put on it! Thank you!!
Plymouth Minnesota

Winged Carpenter Ant

Winged Carpenter Ant

Dear Please help …,
We agree that this is a Winged Carpenter Ant, probably the Black Carpenter Ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus which is pictured on BugGuide.  This is one of the reproductive adults after a nuptial flight that is in search of a new colony.  We do not dispense medical advice.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Carpenter Ants Devour Emerging Cicada
July 29, 2009
Dear Bug Man:
Thought you might be able to use one of these photos in your “food chain’ category. My son called me over to an old oak tree, to see a group of carpenter ants eating what he thought was a large caterpillar. When I got there, I could see it was an emerging cicada. I don’t know if the cicada died as a result of not being able to emerge fully from it’s nymphal skin, and the ants were just scavenging the carcass. Or, if the ants started attacking it shortly after it crawled up the tree. No idea what type of cicade this one is, but parts of it were a lovely turquoise green. This was the only cicada on the whole tree–no other shells or nymphs were around. Was this cicada’s biological clock working OK?
Chris O.
Wildwood Park, near Toledo, OH

Carpenter Ants devour emergent Cicada

Carpenter Ants devour emergent Cicada

Hi Chris,
Thanks so much for sending us your wonderful food chain documentation of Carpenter Ants devouring an Annual Cicada that was in the process of metamorphosis.  We suspect the Carpenter Ants attacked the Cicada while it was helpless and unable to escape.  The Cicada’s biological clock was right on time, as they emerge during the summer.  This is an Annual Cicada, and unlike the Periodical Cicadas that emerge every 14 or 17 years, the Annual Cicadas emerge each year.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Kleptoparasitic flies
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:37 AM
Hi guys,
I got this photo of tiny flies trying to get to the ant captured by this jumping spider. Apparently they are Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) some of which are kleptoparasitic of spiders, some specialising in ant snacks such as this one. The spider is a female Salticid, Zenodorus orbiculatus known locally as ant hunters. She is about 7mm long so you can see how tiny those flies are.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Freeloader Flies share Ant Hunter's prey

Hi Trevor,
Though you have a long history of providing our site with awesome images of Australian fauna, this image is, in our opinion, one of the most fascinating. The fact that you captured this nuanced example of Kleptoparasitism is phenomenal. One animal stealing food or prey from another is common in the animal kingdom, and it is easily observed in our own brand new aquarium, but to photograph these minuscule creatures evolutionarily adapted to this activity is nothing short of fantastic. These Freeloader Flies, as they are called on one website, in the family Milichiidae, are described by Irina Brake on the Introduction to Milichiidae website: “Thu, 2009-02-12 13:48 — Irina Brake
The Milichiidae (Diptera, Schizophora) are small, mostly black acalyptrate flies. The family contains about 240 described species in 19 genera and is worldwide in distribution.
The behavior of several species of Milichiidae is very specialized. For example, in some species the adults are myrmecophilous (= ant-loving), whilst in some others they are kleptoparasitic, feeding on the prey of spiders or predaceous insects.
The habitats of Milichiidae are diverse. Adults can be collected in open landscapes, such as steppes or meadows, in wadis, at the edges of forests, inside forests, in the forest canopy, in stables or houses, or even in caves. However, they do not seem to be attracted to coastal habitats or to other places near water.
The Milichiidae are divided into three subfamilies, Madizinae, Milichiinae, and Phyllomyzinae.
Common names
Common names are only rarely cited for Milichiidae and seem to be more of an invention of the author than a commonly used name. The English term “filth flies”, for example, which is sometimes used for Milichiidae, was introduced by Sabrosky (1959) in the title of a paper about the genus Meoneura , which now belongs to the family Carnidae. Sabrosky probably used the general expression “filth fly” to describe the biology rather than intending the term to be a common name for the family Milichiidae. The term “filth flies” is generally used for several different taxa associated with ‘filth’.
Since people keep stumbling over the name ‘Milichiidae, I herewith introduce a new english common name: “freeloader flies”. The name refers to the biology of Milichiidae. Definitions for ‘freeloader’ are: ‘ someone who takes advantage of the generosity of others’ ( wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) or ‘ one who depends on another for support without reciprocating’ ( http://www.answers.com ). ”
BugGuide also has information on the family Milichiidae. The Geocities website has some nice images of the Ant Eater Spider or Ant Hunter Spider, Zenodorus orbiculatus.

Correction: Mon Mar 23, 2009  7:08:13 AM America/Los_Angeles
Dear Daniel,
thanks for alerting me to your photo and citing my webpage. However, I
discussed it with a collegue of mine and we both think that your flies
are Chloropidae, not Milichiidae. Michael von Tschirnhaus is a
Chloropidae specialist and has more experience with actually watching
the live flies than I have. He wrote to me that from the habitus the
flies are certainly Chloropidae. There are several species who are
kleptoparasitic on spiders. He doesn’t know all Australian genera, so he
can’t tell you which genus it is. Many species of different genera
develop in spider cocons and stay with the spider for a longer period of
time. They can wait endless in the spider net.
Best wishes,
Irina

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Food Chain Meat ants v Scarab beetle
Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 9:37 PM
Our Australian meat ants, Iridomyrmex purpereus, are omnivorous and quite as happy eating the flowers off my zucchinis as any hapless critter that stays still long enough. Farmers will sometimes use a nest as a disposal system for animal carcasses. A nest may have around 85000 ants and they can reduce a full size cow to just bones in about three days. Their bite does not sting but they will chomp on you if you are in their way in bare feet.. This scarab beetle, Exochogenys nigripennisare, will be little more than a snack.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia although widespread

Meat Ants devour Scarab Beetle in Australia

Meat Ants devour Scarab Beetle in Australia

Wow Trevor,
Thanks for the exciting documentation of the Australian Meat Ants and the Scarab which you have identified as Exochogenys nigripennis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination