The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Love is in the air

So I was driving along, enjoying the scenic country landscape along the last bit of my route home, when suddenly, “SPLAT”.

Then, “SPLAT.” “WHACK.” “SMUCK.” “POW-POW-POW-SMUCKA-SPLAT.”

I found myself driving through a veritable fog of smallish flying insects.  What on earth?

I soon arrived, hauled my groceries into the house and went to sit in the backyard with my wife for a spell; I found myself in the middle of another swarm.  The angle of the early-evening light was just right for me to see the twinkle of light passing through hundreds of pairs of wings above my neighbour’s hay field; then I noticed more insects apparently rising from a corner of our lawn, up past the fence and into the great beyond.  I reached up and snagged one critter as it flew overhead, and finally solved the mystery: we were in the middle of a swarm on ants on their nuptial flights!

Ready to find a mate!

Now, I’ve seen winged ants before, but never in numbers like these.  Even more fascinating, the phenomenon lasted for a total of maybe 15-20 minutes.  One minute the lawn was milling with little winged  critters and they were floating up from the grass by the dozens; the next minute all was still and I had very little luck finding even a single ant. (Our resident Backyard Toad, however, had come out of his hiding place behind our fence and was keenly spying – and gulping down – the stragglers).

Here’s a little clip of one small patch of our backyard.  I have no idea what kind of ants these are.  Orange-ish ones???

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4 responses to “Love is in the air

  1. biobabbler August 30, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Just had about 4 or 5 of them in the house 2 or 3 nights ago. And that was it. Imagine there were MANY more outdoors. Veritably defines clustered distribution (temporally), irruption, etc. Love freaky stuff like that. Glad you snagged one for evidence! =) (oh, and great description of the sounds)

    • TGIQ September 5, 2011 at 12:47 AM

      Wow, we didn’t get any in the house! I’m kind of glad for that, because there sure was an awful lot of them! It was a pretty cool sight, though (outdoors, mind).

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