The Beginning of the Australian Anting Season
As the mercury rises and winter fades into spring, we mark the beginning of another anting season here in Australia!
At Gamergate we felt this was an excellent opportunity to share with you some of the knowledge we have gathered from many years of collective experience. Hopefully this will be useful to both beginners and those more experienced. With "anting" there is a lot to cover so all this information will be presented as a series of articles.
Today we are looking into when ants have their nuptial flights. In future articles we plan to discuss some of the most common questions such as how to determine whether an ant is a queen, a rundown of some basic tips to identify the species or genus of you ants and plethora of other informative content to help you out for this coming season.
So for the big questions that we are continually asked is ...
When do queen ants fly? When should I go looking for queen ants?
So let's start off with the basic answer which is of course rain. A lot of Queen ants fly after there has been some rain within the past day or so. The exact mechanisms that dictate when ants will have their nuptial flights is not 100% clear, however, to my knowledge it is believed that humidity and possibly pheromones from neighbouring colonies are amongst the driving factors. The time of day that I would suggest hunting for queens is early in the morning, late in the afternoon and for more nocturnal species like Camponotus consobrinus, try hunting in the evening and into the night
When is species 'X' Flying
With the uncertainty of yearly temperatures we have found that the dates when particularly species have their nuptial flights is not consistent. We are never going to be able to tell you an exact date or week for a particular species, it's all going to depend on the weather conditions. However, what we can do is give you guys a rough guideline as to when you might be able to expect certain genus or species to be flying. Check out the infographic to help find the species or genus you are looking to find this year.
The best advice I can personally give is follow the weather more closely. Also if you find a queen ant record some details that you might be able to use in following year. Make notes on the humidity, the time of day, the location, those sorts of things. Any detail that may influence when a nuptial flight may occur is potentially very useful information. Another great resource for this kind of thing is Taxonomers.com as the weather conditions, locations and times of caught queens are recorded by many fellow ant keepers.
Be like those scientists in your textbooks, record observations and try to recognise patterns!
Best of luck this season everyone, hopefully this series helps you!
In part 2 we are looking at the various food options within each food group.
In the first part of this two part series we take a look at ant food.
In Part 3 we take a look at identifying the species.
In Part 2 we take a look at identifying a queen.