Friday, May 14, 2010
Swarming, sex-craving ants
There were ants swarming everywhere in Springbank Park a couple of weeks ago. Some sections of curb were a quarter inch thick with swarming ants for 50-feet or more. I'm pretty sure they were ants. I checked the Internet and PennState says its easy to tell ants. Just check their waists. "The waists of ants are thin and appear to be constricted . . ."
So since the swarming ants were along the curbs in the London park, I think it is safe to say these were "pavement ants." These ants are normally slow, sluggish, short-legged, and often nest under pavements and foundations.
According to PennState: Usually in the early spring and late summer these ants leave the nest and swarm. Females and males mate and the males die soon after. (I guess we can add another thing these ants like to do on pavement and near foundations: have sex.)
The mated female , now a queen, is soon laying eggs. She feeds and cares for the first generation until they are mature adults. After that they and succeeding generations care for her. She remains in the nest producing eggs the remainder of her life.
Oh, about that waist-checking advice, I wouldn't bother. PennState adds: "Respect these small insects since they do bite and some can also sting." In other words, if you can see this waist you're way too close.