Saturday, July 11, 2009

What's Flying Now?

Assorted Formica species have started flying. Something interesting people have been telling me though is they've seen them flying at night. I used to think they were strictly flying in the morning. And it figures the unidentified species pictured above I found around my front door in the afternoon. I'm rolling my eyes at how inconsistent their nuptial flights are so just be on the look out.

Lasius alanius was also flying today. Thankfully their flights are a little more consistent. They happen in the afternoon. Colonies, however, are not always concentrated. Because L. alanius nest in dead wood ideal nesting spaces are hard to find, and colonies can be broken up some. The colony in my yard takes up the side flower bed where I have varieties of sunflowers planted, and only sent up a hand full of queens.

Here an L. alanius attempted to take off on our neighbor's fence. She's actually in the act of falling off.

Both are easy to start in Test Tube Setups and don't require any special care. The only issue is both genera contain social parasites that will require either, a host colony from that genus, or boosting (with brood) to get started. Parasitic species often look diminished in size compared with their hosts.