Did you know that there are several types of ants with wings? In the insect world, ants are often thought of as solely ground-dwelling creatures, but many species of ants possess wings and can fly.
Here are types of ants you may not have known can take to the skies.
1. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are one of the most commonly known types of ants with wings. They are named after their nesting behavior, as they prefer to make their homes inside the wood, such as trees and wooden structures.
Carpenter ants have wings during mating season and are usually black. They are known for their large size and length. Carpenter ants have a varied diet and feed on other insects, plant sap, sugary foods, and other proteins.
They may also eat dead insects or scavenge for food. As they are attracted to moisture, carpenter ants are often found near water sources.
To reproduce, a queen carpenter ant will mate with a male, and the pair will then establish a nest. The nest will contain multiple chambers that house the eggs, larvae, and pupae. Worker ants will then fan out from the nest to find food and bring it back to the colony.
The presence of carpenter ants in your home can indicate excess moisture, as they require high humidity to thrive. To prevent infestations, keep wood away from moisture sources, seal off any cracks or crevices around windows and doors, and keep gutters clear of debris.
2. Harvester Ants
Harvester ants are a type of ant that is found mainly in the southwestern United States. They get their name from their diet, which includes seeds, insects, and other small animals. Harvester ants can be recognized by their large size and yellowish-red color.
What makes harvester ants unique is that they are types of ants with wings. This is due to the presence of two sets of wings on the adult female ants. The first pair of wings, known as the forewings, is used for flight and is usually shorter than the second pair of wings, known as the hindwings.
When flying, the forewings and hindwings beat in alternating fashion to help with lift and propulsion. The hindwings also help to stabilize the ant in midair.
Harvester ants typically use their wings to travel between nest sites and food sources. During mating season, male harvester ants also use their wings to fly in search of females. Once a female harvester ant has mated, she will lose her wings and become a non-flying ant.
3. Leafcutter Ants
Leaf cutter ants are common in tropical and subtropical climates, including Central and South America, Africa, and parts of the United States. These small ants are types of ants with wings and can be seen flying during their mating season. As their name implies, leaf-cutter ants cut pieces of leaves and carry them back to their colonies.
Here, the leaves are used as a source of food for the colony’s fungi garden. They also use the leaves to make a special nest material that provides protection from predators and climate conditions. Leaf cutter ants are considered pests by some, as they can cause damage to crops and gardens.
4. Fire Ants
Fire ants are a type of ant that can fly and are native to South America and the southern United States. They are also known as “red imported fire ants” due to their red color and imported nature. Fire ants have wings and can fly for short distances.
Fire ants are types of ants with wings, and they are typically seen in open areas such as fields, lawns, and even driveways and parking lots. They are considered to be pests because they often invade homes, farms, and gardens and can damage crops.
Fire ants build nests in the soil, which can range in size from small to quite large. The nest usually comprises small tunnels leading to multiple chambers where the ants can lay eggs, store food, and reproduce. Fire ants feed on insects, fruits, plants, and other small animals such as lizards and frogs.
Fire ants are known to be very aggressive when disturbed or threatened. If their nest is disturbed, they will swarm out and attack anything they consider a threat. They have a painful sting that causes a burning sensation, which is why they are called “fire ants.”
Fire ants are considered to be a major pest problem in the southern United States, and many efforts have been made to control their population. Several methods for controlling fire ants include baits, traps, specks of dust, and sprays. Homeowners should contact a professional if they suspect an infestation to get the most effective treatment.
5. Flying Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are one of the most common types of ants with wings found around the world. While they are typically found on the ground but can fly in the air. Flying carpenter ants have wings but don’t fly to get around.
Instead, they use their wings to glide through the air in short bursts. This allows them to find food sources and make their way around obstacles quickly and easily. Flying carpenter ants are larger than most other species of ants and can reach lengths of up to half an inch.
They are types of ants with wings, dark bodies, and two sets of wings – the hind wings being longer than the front ones. When these ants take off into the air, they spread their wings wide and “fly” in circles or figure eight to reach their destination.
Unlike other ant species, flying carpenter ants feed mainly on other insects, including flies and beetles. They don’t actually feed on plants or wood like their terrestrial relatives but instead hunt other insects for food. They are especially attracted to sweet-smelling foods, such as nectar and sap, which they consume with their long tongues.
In addition to being able to fly, these ants also possess powerful mandibles that can bite through tough materials such as wood and plastic. They use these mandibles to build nests inside rotting tree trunks or wooden structures such as buildings and fences.
These nests are often difficult to spot since they are hidden inside wooden structures. If you suspect that you may have an infestation of flying carpenter ants, it’s important to contact a pest control specialist for help.
Ants with wings may be a surprise to some, but they exist. All the ants listed above are types of ants with wings, each with a unique purpose. They all play important roles in the ecosystem, so it’s important to recognize their contributions.
While some species of ants are considered pests, they should still be respected and protected. The next time you see types of ants with wings, remember there are many types of ants with wings that can take to the skies.