Mum was off to the evening wedding reception of one of Kizzie's best friends, Gemma. As she waited at the end of Wattlebury Lane for Rachel to pick her up, she espied Florence the Flying Ant. Florence was not alone, but accompanied by many worker ants. It reminded Mum of Gemma in her beautiful wedding dress surrounded by friends and family. Several smaller winged ants swooped in the warmth, causing Mum to duck and dive - which must have looked jolly funny to passing motorists.
Flying ants form various colonies then swarm around certain places in the area, usually a place of slightly higher elevation, such as a hill, tree or fence post, like Florence. This is sometimes referred to as hilltopping. Mating typically takes place within a single day. The males then die, and the females disperse to establish colonies or, in some rare cases, to return to their original colonies.
The queens fly around—some very long distances, and others going only a few yards - then mate, and drop to the ground where they lose their wings, and attempt to start a new ant colony. The mass of flying insects often attracts the attention of predators, such as ourselves and other birds - and it is common to see flocks of feeding birds gorging on the readily available food.
The thousands of worker ants are sterile, wingless females. In ant species that reproduce sexually, after the colony is well-established, the queen ant will produce a small number of winged females and many more males. So now you have it. Florence and the Fence Post - nature at it's very best. Gordon xxx