Posted by The Inspiration Shots
iPhoneOgraphy – 29 Apr 2016 (Day 120/366)
The black garden ant (Lasius niger), also known as the common black ant, is a formicine ant, the type species of the subgenus Lasius, found all over Europe and in some parts of North America and Asia. The European species was split into two species; L. niger is found in open areas, while L. platythorax is found in forest habitats. It is monogynous, meaning colonies have a single queen.
Lasius niger colonies can reach in size up to around 40,000 workers but 4,000–7,000 is around average. A Lasius niger queen can live up to around 15 years and it has been claimed that some have lived for 30 years. Lasius niger queens while in the early stages of founding can have two to three other queens in the nest. They will tolerate each other until the first workers come, then it is most likely they will fight until one queen remains. In certain circumstances, it is possible that there can be multiple queens in a single colony if they are founding somewhat near each other and eventually their two tunnels connect.
Lasius niger is host to a number of temporary social parasites of the Lasius mixtus group including Lasius mixtus and Lasius umbratus.
Ants mate on the wing, so “flying ants” are males and immature queens. Mating / nuptial flights of Lasius niger usually occur around June to September throughout the species’ range; in North America flights usually occur during the autumn, whereas in Europe they generally take place during the hot summer months of July and August. Flights can contain thousands of winged males and females.
Disparities between local weather conditions can cause nuptial flights to be out of phase amongst widespread populations of L. niger. During long-lasting, hot summers, flights can take place simultaneously across the country, but overcast weather with local patches of sunshine results in a far less synchronised emergence of alates (winged individuals).
Once the queens have mated they will land and discard their wings and begin to find a suitable place to dig a tunnel. Meanwhile, the males generally only live for a day or two after the mating flights and will then die.