Two days ago we suddenly had some warm weather. High 80's low 90's roughly. And there was something about the day, maybe it's just New Jersey but there was a grassy, pool smell in the air. I don't know what it is but it's just something I pick up on. And I mention these things because Camponotus around me usually starts flying on days like this.
Sure enough I found a few males but this was the first day of the year they could fly... so it wasn't anything special, just a few males and a queen to some one of the smaller species. The main flights will pick up next week or after this odd storm system passes over the area.
Having nuptial causes colonies to become territorial. Firstly they want to make their range safe for queens and males to fly away from the nest. Secondly to prevent new queens and males from other colonies from founding on their land. These arguments continue well into the daylight hours when Camponotus usually don't forage.
Be on the look out for Camponotus queens both big and small over the next couple of weeks.
Queens are not always common but the larger species are very easy to spot. After a nuptial flight they'll be walking around for as much as 24 hours before settling down. The sooner the better. Regardless of preference to nest in soil or in dead wood, because of their size they're almost always seen walking around or found under objects, rocks, logs, etc...
I occasionally find a young colony (less than 100 ants) all nesting under a log, having been displaced by a larger colony. Young colonies like this are easily collected if you're quick enough. They're the result of a larger colony moving on in. Rather than duke it out one colony flees.