Different Ants With Wings

It is not uncommon to find ants with wings in or around your house. They may be small or large, and seem to appear all at one time of the year, usually spring or fall. Winged ants are not separate species of ants, however. All species of ants produce some ants that have wings. Producing a few winged ants is the way that a colony of ants spread out to establish new colonies.

  1. Male and Female Winged Ants

    • When an ant colony becomes a certain size, it automatically produces individuals with wings to fly out and create new colonies. These ants are called swarmers, and they all congregate in places to find mates and reproduce. Sometimes, people see these large swarms of winged arts collecting on hilltops or rooftops. The male winged ants die soon after mating, but the female winged ants become the queen, reproducing ants of new colonies. This helps assure that the ants will survive if one colony is wiped out by some environment occurrence.

    Queen Ants

    • Female ants that become queens of new colonies start out with wings. The wings help them travel to areas away from the original colony. Once they mate, these females lose their wings and become the "queen" of a new ant colony. The muscles that once moved the wings become an important source of nutrition for her during the early period of new colony development, according to Colorado State University. (Reference 2) Sexually-immature worker ants are reared that help the colony expand. It is only after many years, after the colony is well established, that reproductive ants are produced to form new colonies, winged males and females to fly away to form the new colonies.

    Termites

    • Termites are not really ants, but many people think they are flying ants. Ants are quite different, however. They are both in the category that entomologists refer to as alates. However, ants have a narrow waist and antennae with crooks in them. Termites have no waist, and their antennae are straight. Ants also have larger wings at the front part of their bodies, whereas termites' wings are all of equal length. Termites do "swarm" for reproduction as ants do. Whereas ants only have queens, termite colonies have both queens and kings that mate for life. Ants are annoying, but not destructive. Termites, however, can eat wood and cause considerable damage to structures within homes, which can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

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References

  • Photo Credit ants treasure 1. image by mdb from Fotolia.com

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