As mentioned last week, I spent a few days in the “Red Clay Region” last week. The official reason for my visit was to make small repairs to our rental property, but I also wanted to collect a few ant specimens during my stay.
Our property needed a TON of very small repairs, so my three days went by very fast with little time to do anything other than my main objective, but I did manage to spend my last fifteen minutes (before leaving for the airport) searching/collecting ants.
The idea was to keep expectations low and strive for the very small, attainable goal of collecting a few Argentine and Fire Ants.
In that short fifteen minutes, I was able to collect samples of the Argentine (Linepithema humile), Rover (Brachymyrmex patagonicus), Crazy (Nylanderia fulva) and Fire Ants (more on these later).
Being the forgetful (off duty) pest management professional I was, I neglected to bring a magnifying glass on the trip with me. Because of this, I wasn’t able to see some of the full details of my collected specimens. When I arrived back home in Omaha and peered through my camera’s macro lens, I was quite fascinated to find I had actually collected two different species of fire ants – the Southern Fire Ant (Solenopsis xyloni) and Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta).
Here’s where things get interesting
Both the Southern (Solenopsis xyloni) and Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) colonies couldn’t have been located more than ten feet apart!
I’ve always thought fire ants were extremely territorial, but I’ve since learned polygynous (multiple queen) colonies are less aggressive than monogynous (single queen) colonies. For this reason, I assume both the Southern and Red Imported Fire Ant colonies found in my backyard where polygynous (read less aggressive).
I just wish I would have discovered this interesting occurrence while in my backyard, not a thousand miles away!
On second thought, this cool little thing might have caused me to miss my flight home. It’s probably best I made the discovery in Nebraska.