Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lasius claviger have flown

As I exited the home to plant a new garden I found a swarm of Lasius claviger exiting one of the many nests. This was the only colony in my yard bothering to fly and as you can see it wasn't very successful. One of our large garden spiders, the kind that make fantastically huge webs, had it's web filled with flying ants. I was on a bit eager to plant though, and this is a fairly common species so I was a little lazy to get a good shot.

The color on some of these queens is fantastic.

I say some because there is quite a range of varying color scheme among queens. I've seen pale yellow, bright orange, striking reds, a range of browns, and even black. The browns are usually the most common, and the yellows I suspect simply haven't developed yet. But red is fairly common in some colonies where in others only 1 in 100 queens will be red. This colony was interesting because it leaned towards the red side.

While taking a break I walked through the garden and found a lot of the darker queens had a liking for the goldenrod. I'm not sure what they were doing but nearly every cane had a queen on it. I don't bother catching this species because they're social parasites, and requires an established colony for them to take over.

I can't help but wonder if there's some strategy with clinging to goldenrod plants. Maybe they over winter inside the stems?