Flying Ants – Types and Characteristics

Flying Ants – Types and Characteristics

Insects can be classified into two broad groups. The first in which the wings did not appear as a product of the evolutionary process (Apterygotas). The second (Pterygotes) corresponds to those in which they appeared, but the adaptive processes led to their loss, giving rise to individuals without wings. The group of pterygoid insects is much more abundant and diverse than the other.


Despite what we commonly think, ants are found inside pterygotes, that is, they are winged insects. However, due to the role and type of work they do at ground level, they lost their wings and are, therefore, an Aptera species. However, not all members of these social groups have abandoned these structures, some still have them. To continue learning information about flying ant types and their characteristics, continue reading this article.

Characteristics of flying ants

Ants are among the most social animals that exist, having a high degree of organization and structure in terms of the distribution of functions and the role that each individual plays within the colony.

The colonies of these Hymenoptera can be polymorphic, that is, there are different types of members. In this sense, there are associations that are formed by one or more queens, who are the only females that can have wings. The workers, who in some cases are differentiated both in function and in morphology and size, do not have wings. Males, like females, have wings.

In this sense, flying ants are characterized by queens and males, which are also often called the reproductive caste. They are the only members who now have wings and are responsible for the reproduction of the family.


The queens are responsible for laying the eggs, who deciding when to fertilize, as they have the ability to store the sperm collected after mating. From the fertilized eggs, more females originate, mostly sterile workers, but other winged and fertile queens are also born. Furthermore, from the unfertilized eggs, males will appear that will also be fertile.

The queens are the largest females in the colony, although they are inside the nest, they are kept in a protected and difficult to reach the place. When the time for reproduction arrives, which is usually related to the period of more favourable environmental conditions, virgin queens and males emerge from the nest, which fly to the common places to reproduce. The male leaves first to visually locate the spot, which he then marks with pheromones to attract the female.

As soon as the call occurs on wedding flight The ants reproduce and the queen loses her wings, which often leave a distinctive mark on them. Later, this mother ant will search the ground for a space to make its own nest, to deposit the fertilized eggs that will give rise to the first workers. A queen can be with one or more males, but in both cases, she will be able to store sperm for a long time.

Types of flying ants

As we have already mentioned, both queens and males have wings, just because they are the least numerous individuals in colonies, and these females lose these structures after mating, we rarely notice this characteristic.

We can cite some examples where it is common to observe flying ants. One corresponds to the genus Lasius, where we find several monomorphic species. Among them, Lasius Nigeria is a very widespread species in gardens in America, Asia and Europe. It is common that in the reproductive season of the species, which coincides with summer or autumn depending on the region, many of these individuals are observed making the nuptial flight.

Another example of flying ants that we can mention is the genus Messor, typical of Asia and Europe. It is composed of a large number of species, among which we can mention. Messor Barbarus, which eats seeds.

In turn, the Atta genus has a wide distribution in America, and its species are characterized by being leaf-cutting ants since many cultivate fungi on which they feed. They have different names depending on the region, associated in many cases with the large size of their workers. One of its species is Atta laevigata , where the last-mentioned aspect is clearly evident.

Within the Formica genus, we find the Formica neogagados species, this is a host ant of other slave species, as well as a pathogenic fungus.

Do flying ants sting?

Within ants, we find a wide variety of behaviours, and this is logical given that there are so many species of these animals. In this sense, if there are flying ants that sting Often because they appear in groups to perform the nuptial escape and reproduce, eventually being uncomfortable for some people who, when trying to disperse them, are bitten by these ants.

It is also important to remember that the workers are the main protectors of the queen and the nest, so the main responsibility for defence rests with them. Many species of ants are highly aggressive, which can even cause serious harm to people who are primarily sensitive or allergic. But, on the other hand, there are very shy species of flying ants, which do not cause any kind of damage or sting.

There are many species of flying ants, as the vast majority of them have sex with wings. As we have seen, they are responsible for reproducing to generate descendants and new nests, which ends up resulting in the colonization of new spaces by these insects, which undoubtedly have developed highly effective strategies for their survival.

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