A record warm spell across much of the eastern U.S has lead to the early emergence of many ant species here in eastern New Jersey. Temperatures over the past two weeks have been in the 70s and at times close to 80. Though the cool weather has returned, many ant species have come out of hibernation.
The first to take advantage of the warm weather was Prenolepis imparis. As mentioned in earlier posts, this ant prefers cool weather but will have its nuptial flight on the first 70 degree day in late winter / spring.
I managed to capture a few images of these ants in their flight. Here are a few (click to enlarge):
Even some mound-building Formica were out and about repairing their nest:
I also stumbled upon an entire colony of Ponera pennsylvanica (left) as well as an entire colony of Tapinoma sessile (right):
Tetramorium sp. E made an appearance as well. Most colonies were busy collecting food or excavating their nest … however, some were engaged in large territorial wars. Early in the spring time, colonies of these ants will battle in order to set up territorial boundaries. The losing colony will usually have a much more restricted foraging area. This year saw an unusually early start to these wars.
Many other species of ants were out taking advantage of the warm weather. Species from Crematogaster, Camponotus, Stenamma, Lasius, Formica, Temnothorax, Myrmica, Aphaenogaster, Pheidole, and Monomorium were all present.
I have pictures of these ants, but to save space I will not include them in this post. Thanks for reading.