Gold, flying ants (Ontario, Canada)


Today, my husband and I were walking out of our house in a small town in Ontario, Canada near our capital city, Ottawa.... And suddenly, our entire concrete patio out front was COVERED in these tiny golden colored ants, and many flying ants that weren't yet able to fly it seemed - the bigger flying/winged ones, looked more like black ants with wings. There were what looked like thousands, no exaggeration.... And neither of us had ever seen a single one before this. They were also covering a certain vine like plant on either side of our garden, but primarily, seemed to be on the concrete??

Very strange! Just curious if you may have any idea what these may be, why they'd suddenly be infesting my front patio, if they are a danger of any kind to us or our animals, and finally, how to avoid them!

Thank you very kindly,
Kristin


Hi Kristin,

We have contacted another expert, James Glasier. James is Antweb's curator for Ants of Alberta. Here is his response to your question:

"Hi Kristin,
From your description it sounds like you saw Lasius ants (sometimes called field or meadow ants, though common names vary) initiating their nuptial flight. Nuptial flights are when winged males and females of a colony fly up into the air, mate, and then found new colonies. Lasius queens are often a lot larger and can be a darker (often black or brown) compared to their worker caste, which are often light brown to amber in colour. Many Lasius species spend most of their time below ground, farming aphids and other insects on the roots of plants; milking them for a sugary substance called honeydew, which the ants eat. Often the only time you see them is when they are mistakenly dug up or are having their nuptial flight, so you were lucky to see and experience this event. Lasius ants present no danger to you or other animals; in fact they are an important food source this time of year for migrating birds and bats. Thank you for you question!
James Glasier, MSc, PhD Candidate UNSW in Invertebrate Ecology"

I hope this helps,
Steffi Kautz & the AntAsk Team

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