Ant swarms larger than usual due to ‘perfect’ weather conditions

Ant swarms larger than usual due to ‘perfect’ weather conditions


You may have seen dense swarms of flying insects Tuesday evening gathering near outdoor lights. An entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said the insects were ants, and they were swarming due to “perfect” weather conditions.

Entomologist Gale Ridge saw the swarms herself at her home. Some of the male ants can squeeze through screens in windows and doors.

“The males were coming in through the screen and landing on my desktop,” she said.

Ridge said ant swarms aren’t unusual, they just normally happen over a longer period in August and early September. But on Tuesday night, the “conditions were so perfect” that the ants all swarmed at once.

“These are the reproductive swarms,” Ridge notes. “Mature colonies will produce drones and queens. These will have nuptial flights.”

Swarms usually occur in the late afternoon and early evening after rain. Many area residents reported seeing the swarming insects Tuesday evening, which was warm and humid. There were heavy rain showers across the state, as well.

“The conditions were absolutely perfect,” Ridge said.

Clare Biagioni, a reader who submitted a photo of the swarming ants, said she was grateful her windows were shut and her central air on, “otherwise they’d be inside.”

The ant species swarm to maximize chances of reproduction. Inseminated females establish new colonies and find safe places to spend winter, while males die off. Ridge likened the swarming to “ant nightclub time.”

The two main species of ants that swarm in the state are citronella, or yellow ants, and pavement ants.

“Those are the two big species that are swarming,” Ridge said.

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