Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Third Annual New Jersey Ant Together (Video)

The video supplement to out anting trip back in July. Coming Soon: Ants of the Southwest!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rover Ant Nuptial Flight

Brachymyrmex (Rover Ants) is a genus of mostly tramp species that have spread across the globe by human commerce. Colonies are more than happy to move into potted plants and are then transported around, usually a short distance but sometimes all over the place. It's not uncommon to bring a few colonies indoors in the winter time on accident either and species can be found in greenhouses throughout the world.

Despite a lot of nonnatives species in the genus spread around the world, they're not invasive. Colonies remain small and don't seem to displace other ant species.

Flights happen in late afternoon along side Lasius claviger, but seem to favor muggy days with an over cast to them and a slight chill in the air. Around 70 degrees is ideal of course but this species seems to be cold hardy, like Prenolepis imparis. They tend to favor nesting spots in damp, sandy soil, and go unnoticed on account of their size. Any mound formed around the entrance is usually insignificant, and on par with what a Monomorium would make, lots of extremely tiny dirt partials, unlike what a Lasius or Dorymyrmex species would produce.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Scoliid Wasps on Goldenrod

While touring New Moon Nursery I couldn't help but notice the alarming amount of Scoliid Wasps on their Goldenrod. I believe this is the cultivar 'Fireworks' but these are only plugs so they're not really representative of the adult plants. But even in flats, you can see a lot of these plants still try to flower.

Scoliid Wasps are parasites of beetle larva, including the nonnative Japanese Beetle. The adult form though is a pollinator that's fond of generalist composites and mint. Goldenrod, Aster, Mints and a few others are all good at attracting them to your yard. And because the larval stage consumes beetle larva they're beneficial to lawn health too.