Camponotus nuptial flights.

The month of March went down as one of the warmest months ever, for North America that is. The rest of the Earth was actually slightly cooler than normal.

A few days ago, central NJ hit 80 and then 90 degrees. Very impressive warmth for mid-April, but not unprecedented. The warmth led to the nuptial flights of at least three Camponotus species. These include C. caryae, C. pennsylvanicus, and C. chromaiodes. I took some pictures and even recorded a video.

The video can be seen here:

Also, here are some of the pictures I mentioned that came out pretty well.

These are what people typically refer to as carpenter ants. They inhabit rotting wood and and can be a significant pest if they decide to nest in a structure or home. Many are typically nocturnal but C. caryae is day-active.


About wxmatt

I'm a meteorologist with a deep interest in insects as well as the weather.
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4 Responses to Camponotus nuptial flights.

  1. myrmicinae says:

    I haven’t seen nuptial flights of any ant species yet here in Fort Collins, CO. How large are the C. caryae alates? It is difficult to get an accurate idea of scale from the video.

    • wxmatt says:

      They are much smaller than say C. pennsylvanicus. I can’t give you an exact measurement but they are comparable to Lasius neoniger queens in size.

    • wxmatt says:

      Update: I measured the C. caryae alates – the queens came out to 9mm, the males to 6mm, and the workers were between 4 – 7mm.

      • myrmicinae says:

        That is small! My largest L. neoniger queen is actually a few millimeters longer. On the forum, you mentioned that this colony covered your entire yard. That’s an incredibly large area for such small ants. Do you have any idea if the colony is polygynous?

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