Flying Ants

Ants

I was at Max’s again yesterday, and on one of my forays to the top of the garden I checked the black plastic compost bin which we lovingly refer to as the dalek. This bin is not a pretty beast, but until we get something a little more aesthetically pleasing in place, and indeed a composting system, it is serving a purpose.  This purpose is hiding things from ourselves.  We bung stuff in, dandelion and dock roots, mind your own business, creeping buttercup and other such demons, and forget about it.  The same goes for the other one.  Yes there are two.  Should we be worried about an invasion?  Perhaps we should contact the Doctor.  Anyway, for some reason I thought I would have a look at what was going on inside.  Nosiness I suppose.  It wouldn’t be the first time I had got into trouble for being overly curious.   Not this time though.  After a couple of seconds I realised that the piece of artwork I was looking at was an ant nest, some of the residents ready to fly.  I rushed to get Max’s Dad and we peered and wondered and admired their handiwork.  Quite how or why the shapes had been formed, I have no idea.  Any clues anyone?  All I know is that nature is indeed a wonderful thing.

11 thoughts on “Flying Ants

  1. The only similar image I can find on Google is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/24489427 but does not give any information on how the nests are made. Isn’t nature marvellous? Mr TT and I were walking with friends near Simonsbath a couple of years ago and happened to choose Flying Ants Day. We were inundated, both Liz and I ended up with a load inside our bras, for goodness sake, how did they get in there? At least they did not seem to bite. I would keep the lid on!

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  2. You just need some butterflies. That’s how the Doctor dealt with the Zarbis (brainless ants; “The Web Planet”; 1965; not a dalek in sight).

    The colony in the compost bin will have done much good to the compost of course, aerating it to help decomposition. Nest structures develop depending on the circumstances – they’ve just had longer undisturbed to build their “hill”. A nest in a compost bin usually indicates that it’s too dry though. That’s how that interesting structure will have formed – like the little mound in your lawn but it has baked dry and hard. They have then build more of a hill on top and that’s baked dry and hard. And so on, creating the tiered effect.

    Sprinkle a few watering cans onto the heap (sprinkle to let moisture penetrate into, rather than collapse, the structure) and they’ll soon relocate. But you know that, don’t you!

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