Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Where and when are you finding queen ants? A section to share nuptial flight schedules by ant species and locality

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Thorond0r
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:50 am
Location: Rhenen, Netherlands

Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 42029Post Thorond0r
Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:46 pm

Hey everyone!
So currently the Netherlands (and most of europe) are experiencing a pretty heavy drought.
Where i live we haven't had any rain at all for about 6 weeks now (that is pretty big deal here, even in summertime).
Now i was wondering what the ants will do about their nuptial flights....

So far the only species i have seen performing a nuptial flight was Lasius niger, they had 2 nuptial flights so far, with no readily apparent trigger.

My question for you guys is as follows:

Will most ant species wait for the environmental cue they require to perform a flight (rain) even if this means they will have to postpone their flight well beyond their normal "peak time"....

Or will they reach a certain point where the nest is so full of aleates taking up resources that they will perform a nuptial flight regardless of the weather just to get rid of them?

Would be cool if anyone has some insights in this :)
First year of antkeeping, already enjoying it!

Currently founding:

Lasius niger
Lasius umbratus
Lasius flavus


Still hoping to find a Formica queen.

Hunter36o
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 45597Post Hunter36o
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:01 pm

I have been trying to find the answer to this also. Here in Ireland we have had small amount of rain a few days ago. Now I live in Ireland so a small amount of rain is like tiny.
And again the same issue. Lasius Niger had a random flight in June and looks like there nests in my area are gearing up for round two. This also seemed the case to the caespitiums (first flight) but after a small bit of rain and the following day got really hot too quick again, causing nothing to happened.

I think between this and your post. It is proof the over run heatwave has clearly effected the natural run of things for ants in Europe.

Everywhere I look nothing mentions this anywhere so I think we have to wait it out and hope for the best....
Officially caring for 4 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
11x Lasius Niger
1x Myrmica Rubra
1x Myrmica ??

Thorond0r
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:50 am
Location: Rhenen, Netherlands

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 45604Post Thorond0r
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:12 pm

Thanks for the response!
It does seem they just want to wait for rain... We had some tiny amounts of rain here today but it wasn't even enough for alates to take a peak outside of the nest... So heres hoping a huge thunderstorm with loads of rain comes along soon :D
First year of antkeeping, already enjoying it!

Currently founding:

Lasius niger
Lasius umbratus
Lasius flavus


Still hoping to find a Formica queen.

Hunter36o
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 45608Post Hunter36o
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:20 pm

Yeah it it making me anxious because you see them getting ready then the all go back into hiding.

And excluding ants for but a moment the lack of rain is hitting us hard. My front garden is brown! ☹️
Officially caring for 4 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
11x Lasius Niger
1x Myrmica Rubra
1x Myrmica ??

Thorond0r
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:50 am
Location: Rhenen, Netherlands

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 45619Post Thorond0r
Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:18 pm

Hahaha yes very annoying when they do that!

Imagine what this weather is like for farmers.... The water shortage in large parts of the netherlands is so large they aren't even allowed to spray their crops anymore... so big harvest losses this year...
There are even places where big trees are dying because of this weather... Let's just hope nature makes a good recovery at the end of summer so the effects aren't too long term
First year of antkeeping, already enjoying it!

Currently founding:

Lasius niger
Lasius umbratus
Lasius flavus


Still hoping to find a Formica queen.

Hunter36o
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 45623Post Hunter36o
Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:49 pm

It is the same here! We have a hose pipe ban too. Cannot even water the gardens. :(

As for what Jake said. I hope this is not the case because the main thing captive ants lack is not so much the environment directly but also the lack of pheromones released into the air by secually mature colonies. Which explains why the first wave of lasius Niger flights took place even tho the weather was not actually ideal and waited until early evening when it cooled down.

Also the Myrmica Rubra colony I have been watching just had they farm completely cleared out. The estate caretakers where I work pulled up all the weeds the aphids were colonizing. I hope this does not entice the ants to leave. As they are the only colony I have found as of yet and I keep note of them every week because I have read that they will mate Infront of their nest as some queen's will return to the nest.
Officially caring for 4 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
11x Lasius Niger
1x Myrmica Rubra
1x Myrmica ??

Hunter36o
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 46287Post Hunter36o
Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:11 am

Okay. Now I am starting to agree to this idea even more. It has been raining on and off the last couple of days with very long sunny spells in-between and yet zero activity on flights. No even lasius Niger have flown. Like I said before if looked like they had braced for it. But I have seen nothing. And when in work I have had some very trust worthy friends keep an eye out for me back home and they have said that nothing of the sort happened. One of these people caught queen's with me before so she know exactly what she is looking for but came up empty.
It's now August so I hope this does not effect Myrmica Rubra..... :(
Officially caring for 4 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
11x Lasius Niger
1x Myrmica Rubra
1x Myrmica ??

ClashOwenBash
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:58 am
Location: Oxfordshire, England

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 46289Post ClashOwenBash
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:37 am

I know in the UK Spring came late because of the multiple cold storms from the east (one named the "Beast from the East" by the media). This might of caused some of the colonies to produce and raise their elates late too. This didn't seem to effect the Lasius Niger/Flavus colonies near me which have already flown. Myrmica Rubra flights tend to be much later than Lasius species. I remember finding a Myrmica queen which had landed on my leg in early September! So don't worry too much. I've got two large Myrmica colonies in my garden both seem fine and I even saw a drone run out and then back in! :lol:
Currently caring for a Lasius Niger colony :D

Founding: :)
Lasius Niger
Lasius Flavus
Myrmica Rubra

Hunter36o
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:57 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 46295Post Hunter36o
Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:16 am

Yeah that hit us hard here in Ireland too. And now these heat waves are just messing with everything at the minute. I did catch a fair few lasius Niger queen's but the tetramorium Caespitium have completely informed flight season in my area. At fist I though it was me who just missed them but I have been preparing since may and after the Niger flight I am convinced I did not miss anything because I can spot a queen a mile off.

Yeah from what I have read they fly from August to September but I've only come across one colony since I first started ant scouting.
Officially caring for 4 Lasius colonies :D :D :D

Founding stage:
11x Lasius Niger
1x Myrmica Rubra
1x Myrmica ??

Thorond0r
Posts: 124
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:50 am
Location: Rhenen, Netherlands

Re: Nuptial flight and ant decision making

Post: # 46321Post Thorond0r
Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:41 pm

Hunter36o wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:11 am
Okay. Now I am starting to agree to this idea even more. It has been raining on and off the last couple of days with very long sunny spells in-between and yet zero activity on flights.
Exactly the same is happening is here... I just read somewhere that (dutch) ants don't like it when the ambient air temperature exceeds 25 C... So maybe it is just to hot right now for them to fly?
Another heat wave is expected to hit the netherlands the coming days (and no rain in sight for quite a while)... I'm just hoping some Formica will fly before autumn sets in :roll:
First year of antkeeping, already enjoying it!

Currently founding:

Lasius niger
Lasius umbratus
Lasius flavus


Still hoping to find a Formica queen.

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