During the spring and early summer, you may notice large swarms of flying ants. These swarms are particularly common after rainstorms. The vast majority of ants do not have wings though, so where did all the flying ants come from?
Ants live in colonies with several different castes. Each caste has a responsibility to help the colony function properly. The most common ants are workers. These sterile females are responsible for almost all the work that is done within the colony, including things like tending the immature larvae, gathering food, and defending the colony. These workers are the ones that you most often see in your homes and yards. They do not have wings, and they do not fly.
The other important castes in a colony are the resproductives. The queen (or queens) is the most important ant in the nest. She lays all the eggs that will ensure the future of the colony. Without the queen, the colony will soon die off. The young reproductives are known as alates. Alates consist of fertile females (future queens) and males (drones). These alates have wings that they will use to find a mate and start a new colony.
At certain times of the year, usually spring or early summer, changes in weather or temperature will signal the alates to start swarming. This is known as a “nuptial flight,” and reproductives from many different colonies will swarm together to breed and reproduce. Although there are often thousands of ants in these swarms, the majority will be eaten by predators or die from lack of food and water.
After mating, the female will find a good place to start a new colony. She will then twist off her wings because they are no longer needed and commence egg-laying. The males have a short lifespan and will likely die within a few weeks.
Since ants typically do not fly very far, if you see swarms of ants, you can be fairly confident that there is a nest nearby and that a new nest may appear shortly. Seeing winged ants is a good reminder to be diligent with your ant control. It is also important to make sure that they really are ants because termites and ants can often be confused for each other. While ants are annoying, termites can be downright destructive. For identification tips, check out The Differences Between Ants and Termites.
Anna, TX Pest Control
Spring in Texas is prime pest season, so make sure that you have your home protected against unwanted invaders. EcoArmor Pest Control serves the great people of Frisco, Howe, McKinney, Plano, and surrounding areas. If you are in need of pest control in Anna,TX, contact EcoArmor Pest Control today.