Wednesday, September 10, 2014

False Honey Ant

Today's bug is pretty common around here. The one shown in the photo was actually collected right in front of our institute. The false honey ant (Prenolepis imparis) is also called Winter ant because these animals remain active at low temperatures during the winter months. This makes them visible to us, especially when they invade our homes in search of sweets or to nest.

These ants become less active as the weather warms, and appear to do very little feeding during the hot days of summer. They mobilize again with the return of cooler temperatures in the fall, so know might be a good time to look out for them.

They live in small colonies, containing only a few thousand individuals, with a well-defined caste system. Most queens and male ants have wings (as the one in the photo), which they often eat after their nuptial flight because they don’t need it anymore.

Here a little video made by a colleague of mine who is a professor here at the University of Guelph and an expert for ants.

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