Welcome back. Welcome back to another edition of the Pest Geek Podcast. I am your host, Frank Hernandez, and we’re going to be discussing the colony multiplication through both budding and mating flights of ants. And before I do that, I want to remind everybody we’ve got a couple of new things on the Web site, that pestgeekpodcast.com One of them is an automatic. If you want to be a guest on our show and you would like to be interviewed on any subject that you are an expert on that you know about, be more than glad to go to our Web site and click on a guest and be our guest. There is a form there that tells you the data available. You basically fill out that form, choose the date you want and on there and we will get you interviewed for the podcast. There is a registration form that you can put in your bio, all of your information that you want, whatever it is you want to talk about, and we’ll get you automatically on the podcast. And the other one is for those of you who don’t talk, who are afraid of the microphone. I get a lot of people who call me and tell me I know what can I do? I want to be on the podcast, but I just can’t talk.
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But in today’s topic of understanding the difference of how ants multiply, the colonies are how they actually become make colonies or make mounds in some cases, some make colonies, some make mounds. We’re gonna be discussing the difference between budding and mating flights. And a lot I get a lot of calls during the year, especially during a termite swarm season where we get calls from people saying, hey, I’ve got termites in my house and I start to talk to them about tell me about what it looks like and identifying it.
You have ants that are flying that are swarming
And sometimes I just tell I’m just, you know, just text me a picture. And no, you don’t have termites. You have ants that are flying that are swarming at this time of year. And a lot of people get confused by that. So and even technicians, they can’t tell the difference sometimes between a fly and a flying Ants because ants do grow wings, ants belong to the order of him and Hymenoptera, which is basically means a membrane wing. And they have the ability to produce wings. They’re in the same family. Actually, I’m sorry, the same order as bees and wasps. So they have the capability when they’re going to meet to produce wings. And I know that they’re in the family Formicidae, which is what we have as an ant family. But in the case of of our colonies that are made through mating flights, what we usually have is a new queen that grows wings and flies off from an old colony. To unto create to mate with a male. To create a new colony.
Now these are known as monogynous or the term Monogyny of meaning modern, meaning singular. They’re usually single queen nests.
So ants that have single queen nests are gonna usually have these mating flights or these swarms. And so what she does is she flies off. Also, the males will produce wings and fly around. It is very interesting that they have a very high success in some of these and colonies of of mating where others are. It’s a very risky proposition. I mean, you’re flying out of your nest and you’re going to mate somewhere in the air where you find a male. And you could be you know, you could be eaten by predators, by other insects that eat ants. So it’s you know, it’s a very risky proposition for ants to do this, especially when you’re the only queen in that colony. And so they will fly off, make up, make a mate, and then she goes and finds a suitable site for nesting. At this point, she drops her wings and excavates a new nest. Now, the male will also basically just die shortly after mating, so he doesn’t serve any other purpose in this situation other than to mate. OK, so so she does this excavates a new nest and she basically cloisters herself within the nest for several weeks or more into her eggs mature. And then she lays them once she lays her eggs in the nest. She will personally care for the young. Some of these aunts will use their own wings as food, as protein to be able to survive during this period where she has to get food. She seldom or ever will leave that nest again in her life. Okay.
After she’s gone through one of the life cycles and is creating workers is going to rely on the workers to groom and feed her colony. And until the you know, after the first generation has been reared. So now you have aunts like carpenter ants, crazy ants. Harvest ants Rover ants thief ants Whitefooted ants. And some people and termites and termites do this and this is why people get confused with with ants that because they’re usually swarming at the same time of year like I’ve had carpenter ants swarming is the same time as termites. And we just had another swarm of ants with crazy ants. And people were calling saying they’ve got flies in their house and they’ve got fruit flies or they have you know, they think they got fungus gnats. And what they actually have are flying ants. Now with most flying insects outside, there’s really nothing you can do at that point when they’re swarming to control them outside because they’re swarming just like any other flying insects. You could probably spray and get a reduction. If they get inside, you can still use baits and you can still spray around with those and you can treat the windows in the entry points. But if people have their lights on at night in the porch, those hands are going to swarm around there. They like lights. If you’ve got lights inside the house, you’re gonna attract them. If they’re swarming at night and bringing them in if your windows aren’t well sealed. If you live like in Florida, where a lot of windows are not well sealed.
They’re from the 50s and 70s when the house was originally made. Those ants are gonna fly in. Anything is gonna easily fly in. So. So that’s what happens with with flying and when they’re mating and they’re able to do that. Now, there’s another type of colony creation where it’s called budding and budding with some and species. We’re dealing with now polygynou ants versus monogynous ants, polygynou, meaning more than one poly where we get the word polymer, which is a combination of different things to make a product. In the case of exoskeletons on insects where they produce it through chitin, chitin is a polymer. OK. And so it’s made from different things to create that exoskeleton. When the case of of the queen ants, usually they’re in colonies that have multiple queens. More than one and and workers will often accompany a queen to create a new nest. Now, people get this confused with budding, with fragmenting and fragmenting is an environmental response to to being disturbed where they will move and distribute. Their eggs, the larvae, the food, other workers and other queens to other existing nest that have already been budded or created, buds. Okay, so there’s a big difference between fragmentation and budding. You can cause a nest in some species to fragment by disturbing it. You can also cause it to. bud and then they will create a new nest because now they’re threatened and they have to move. And basically they just go and create a new nest. They’re both budding and.
Fragmenting. There we go. Just lost my train of thought of fragmenting can be both through. In the case of Ghost ant it can be both a response to a and environmental stress that they’re going through. But generally the budding will occur when they do do it now or sometimes they won’t leave with the queen. Sometimes they’ll just be workers that will leave and. Just create a new colony. They’ll take, you know, brood and they’ll take, you know, eggs and they will create sometimes with and without mature queens so they can have the ability to create their own queen. Workers carry the immature eggs to other nesting sites and then in some cases indicate in the most of these cases, the workers rear the immature up as reproductive males and females. OK. So they have that capability ants still do this that are common for this are the most common are the Argentine ant the pharaoh ant they’re notorious for this is why they’re so difficult to control, because they can both bud and translate or move or fragment everything they have. So this is how they survive in very stressful environments. A lot of these ants that do both the budding and the the fragmentation will become dominant and species. OK. This is the big danger that we have with a lot of these as they become the predominant and dominant and species in that area sometimes displacing other ant species. OK. So also the ghost and the odorous house ant does this. Then we have ants that do both. They’re capable of doing both both budding and mating flight.
And this is the imported fire ant. Now, this is the reason why the imported fire ant has been able to come into this country. Both all these ants are known as tramp ants or exotic, invasive and species. And they’re able to do this because they could they have this versatility of doing both. Now, they can be both monoygyne colonies or Polygyne colonies. OK. So they can have both single queen and multiple queen. And this is an interesting aspect about red imported fire ant colonies. The alates from the monogyne colony tend to mate and disperse in considerable distances. So in large areas, but the budding from Polygyne or Polygyne colonies tend to mate very near where where they were originally. They don’t disperse as far. OK. They create what are underground tunnels and then they create or move there. When they fragment, they move everything to another another colony, another bud through underground tunnels. So one of them tends, by the way, between red imported fire ants, the the model giant colony and apologising colony. The genetically, they’re indistinguishable one from another. You can’t really tell if one species is a queen. That is the only queen in that colony or if they’re multiple queens. By looking at the workers, by looking at the queens. There is no way to distinguish them. OK, so through polygamy, these are the ones that are done by budding. The population is always going to be a portion of the territory within a month, join population like Polygon workers show little or no aggression toward their nest mates.
This is in contradiction to the my motto Gyan Colony, which they are aggressive to other ants. They do not defend their territories. They do exchange the workers and brood in the polygon colony of fire. Ants are red imported fire ants, workers and some queens will immigrate through. What? I said underground tunnels. But they will also take OD on these colonies. Others that I recently made it, which is really because their main reaper, their main focus of these of these polygyne colonies is to basically populate very quickly. They have to populate. So since they don’t invest any effort into creating wings or alate production, all of their energy is focused on. Colony production producing high growth rates, typically the difference between a monogyne colony, an a polygyne colony is that the polygyne colony has two to six x the amount of workers in the mount. So that’s one way that you can tell whether one colony is by the amount of workers is usually going to be up to six x the ratio of larvae. Also. In a polygyne, colony or polygynous colony is going to be much higher. The amount of larvae that they also have. I consider queens are accepted when they have recently mated. New queens can really enter, they’re not like I said, they’re not aggressive to other colonies. Now in the monogyne side, the difference is these guys, mate, are they consist of daughters of a single mother. So in the single in the in the monogyne where they do have mating flight or nuptial flight.
They have a single mother and a single father. They will defend their territory. They will attack, you know, non nest mates. Because how do they know? Well, pheromone is the way they know that they belong to us, to that colony, because of the pheromones they record, they’ll attack and kill intruders. So if have another ant species tries to get in there or another ant moves, try to moves from a a a polygamous colony into a monogamous colony, they’re gonna get attacked. Know remarkably in in the the the the fire ant, the imported fire and their success rate is really high. Like ninety five percent are successful at mating vs. the polygamous are colony have don’t have a really high success rate. So that’s one of the things that one differs from the other. After mating flights, newly mated queens from a mine, a giant colony are likely to band together in small social groups that cooperate in rearing of the brood. But. Only one queen is going to survive. They’re gonna kill each other off and fighting among themselves and they will execute by workers. Will be executed by their workers. Only one is gonna survive in the end to maintain that call in the end. Obviously, she has to go ahead and made again and create another colony in order to to keep surviving. So that is the difference in and different and species and different types of and colonies, different types of colonies, whether they have a single queen or multiple queen.
And you know, that’s one of the things that people get awfully confused about. Customers get confused about this. Technicians get confused. I got technicians that, you know, saying, I know I’m having a heck of a time controlling a big headed ant. And how do how will you know or I have a terrible time controlling ghost town or I have a terrible time controlling odors, house and or controlling pharaoh. And in a building, it’s gonna be a nightmare because of these breeding habits. And the more you understand and the more the customer understands about the nature of this and that they got one of these and they got one of these invasive species, they got one of these trampants that the ant is going to be more difficult to control than other types of and species that are or other types of insects are not predominant or they’re not dominant in those neighborhoods. So I hope this helps you guys. Hey, until next time, this is Frank the pest geek Wishing you a pestocular day.