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Which Ants have Wings?

The male and queen ants of the majority of the ant populations possess wings. The worker ants are sterile and do not contain any wings.

flying ant
Image: A winged ant

In the ant world, having wings signifies that the individual ant is sexually matured.

Do all Queen Ants have Wings?

Almost all of the queen ants of the different ant species possess wings.

Army ants are an exception for this. Their queen doesn’t have any wings but on the flip side, they end up producing a larger number of eggs on a regular basis unlike the queens of other species.

In all other species, the queen ants use their wings to fly from one colony to another and to participate in nuptial flights. Right after the nuptial flight, they settle down in one particular colony, get rid of their wings and start producing eggs.

flying ants
Image: Flying ants

Do Male Ants have Wings?

Male ants have only one main purpose in their life, which is to mate with the queen ant and help it in reproduction. Right after the purpose is served they die pretty quickly.

The mating process is carried out in most instances via nuptial flights which are also known as the “ant flying days”. To participate in this they need to fly and catch up with the queen ants so yes, all of the male ants contain wings.

Read More: Do Winged Ants Bite?

What Kind of Black Ants have Wings?

Only some male black ants whose job is to reproduce and the queen ant of the colony have wings.

During the reproduction process, the eggs that remain unfertilized develops into male ants which are reproductively active. The eggs that get fertilized develop into the female worker ants who are sterile.

The queen ants develop among the midst of the female ant larvae when that particular larvae get some specialized dietary treatment and are well nurtured than the rest. The queen ant and the male ants possess wings so that they can find suitable mates during the nuptial flights, which is a mating ritual of ants.

ant with wings
Image: A flying nat

Do Red Ants have Wings?

Fire ants (popularly termed the red ants) are one of the most common ant species found in the US and Europe. Like all other ant species, few members of the fire ants species are alates, which means they can fly and are sexually mature than others.

This includes the male and the queen.

They participate in nuptial flights particularly during the warmer months of the year and look to establish new colonies. On a day with a light wind and comfortable temperature, the male red ants swarm up in the air and wait for the queen ant.

Later the queen emerges into the midst of the flying male ants and the mating takes place in the air.

The queen red ant then sheds off its wings as it doesn’t need those anymore. She then establishes a new colony where she starts laying eggs.

ant nest
Image: Ant larvae

Do Sugar Ants have Wings?

In general, “sugar ant” is a term that is used to describe any ants that are found attracted to sweet food sources in the house.

Commonly these ants are found in the kitchen, food storage areas of the cabinet, in the wastage bin, and in the sink. Sugar ants are a generic term that covers a wide range of ant varieties, some of them commonly include:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Pavement ants
  • Acrobat ants
  • Rover ants
  • Banded sugar ants of Australia.

So just like all other ant varieties of this post, these particular types of ants are no exception. The male and the queen are the only ones with wings and they are the ones who can fly.

Read Also: Are Ants Attracted to Light?

Why do Flying Ants Suddenly Appear?

Flying ants are neither involved in the collection of food nor are they on the lookout for new nesting locations, hence they are not being regularly seen by humans.

The ants we see on a daily basis are mostly the worker female ants that do not contain any wings.

The flying ants are the only members of the colony who can mate and hence can carry on giving rise to newer generations.

However they do not end up mating throughout the year, they have a particular period somewhere in the warmer months of the year where they prefer to carry on their mating activities.

Mostly their mating activities occur on warmer days, with a light breeze and moderate humidity. Clear weather is essential as rain will cause a serious disruption in their flight. So on these days, it is quite normal to see loads of flying ants moving around. And these days are regarded as flying ant days.

Generally, the period of June to September is regarded as the flying ant season. Wimbledon has witnessed multiple instances, where tennis players get continuously interrupted and disturbed by swarms of ants flying around. So the mating activities of the ants have led to the halting of play many a time over the years.

Are Flying Ants Dangerous?

The category of flying ants includes the young queen and male ants which have only one purpose, to mate and reproduce. Their secondary goal is to fly and move to the new nesting conditions for setting up a new colony.

They are not into collecting food and hence in most scenarios not bothered about other living beings as long as they don’t pose any threat. So in hindsight, they don’t pose any major threat to humans.

However, if you end up seeing too many of these flying ants in your house or in the garden area then it can mean that they have built a nest in your home or nearby your location. This can be quite troublesome depending upon the ant type.

For example, if the flying ants are carpenter ants then it is never good news. Carpenter ants typically build nests chewing through wooden structures and can end up damaging them pretty badly with time.

Earlier detection of their supposed location can save you from extra stress down the line. You can then seek the help of a professional pest removal service to deal with the colony.

Related: Do Flying Ants Bite?

Conclusion

There are hardly any ant species in this world which doesn’t include members without wings. However, the number of ants with wings is always limited to a minimal quantity in every ant population and those with the wings are solely responsible for mating and in the generation of newer offsprings.

Other ants which are devoid of any wings are sterile in nature and function as worker bees. They are given the important tasks of collecting food, looking after the eggs and providing their nests with sound protection against different predators.

This is a common theme that is seen in all the ant species ranging from carpenter, red ants to sugar, and black ants. The queen and male members are the only ones that contain wings.

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