Ants and Global Warming?

Martha O'Kennon

On April 23, 2022, I found this queen Winter Ant (aka Nearctic Winter Ant, Small Honey Ant) on the Shop Wall down near where she would be in position to ditch her wings and drop down under the Shop to start her dynasty.

The next morning I found these male Winter Ants (although I mis-identified them as queen Odorous House Ants) on the deck siding. Compare them to the nice neat white-winged Ant males from the tryst with the orange Queen in 2019.

Steven Wang got me interested in this discussion when I posted a Small Honey Ant Queen on iNat. She was in the back yard sitting on a rock by the pond on the afternoon of March 23, 2021. I just happpened to be sitting by that very same rock watching the fishes. My observations of the swarming Ants for the next few years SHOW that the swarming is taking place earlier and earlier. But if you just look at the data for 2022, that swarming took place a whole month LATER than in 2021.

Though I hadn't seen a swarm happening on the front lawn parking this year, I knew one must have taken place. So I checked back in 2019, when I'd actually observed the swarming , and found that that year it happened on April 8, 2019. Two whole weeks later!

Here are some pictures of queens from that swarm. At least three Queens emerged sequentially from the ant nest. Here is one of them. She is pursued by lots of little winged black males, and finally escapes to fly to the back yard, where she will later drop her wings and start a new nest.

Let's do some more time travel. In 2017, a Queen was seen on the shop siding on April 10. Here she is being mated with by a couple of tiny males. By the way, this phenomenon of the size differences of the males and Queen was answered for me on by Rinaldo Nicoli Aldini.

In 2015, I missed the winged Queen, but saw her after she had dropped her wings on April 14, 2015.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021