Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ants Swarming in My Green House

After all this rain we've been getting, I went out to the green house to find a nuptial flight of Odorous House Ants, Tapinoma sessile, trying to take off.

Queens are only a hair bigger than the workers. This ant is a minor annoyance in homes, despite being a native species. Colonies often have multiple queens, and divide as needed. It's been noted that colonies are enormous in urban settings, sometimes taking up several city blocks, while suburban and rural settings yield much smaller colonies, often only a few thousand ants.

Despite their name, Odorous House Ant, they are only odorous if squished, and can be discouraged out of homes simply by sealing up holes they happen to be coming in through. This is sometimes easier said than done. They're opportunistic nesting and find the hollow space behind a loose kitchen back splash very appealing. Resorting to baits might be called for if they're out staying their welcome. 

Out in the green house they nest right the flats to my plants as well as the loose space inside of pots along the outer edge of the soil. I'm certain I've divided this colony a few times simply by planting seedlings out in the garden.

I've also been noticing termite alates flying out and about in the yard. The Robins in particular are enjoying them.