When we first moved into our home, the yard was barren. Well, except for the numerous Solenopsis xyloni mounds.
Now, twenty years later, we no longer have Solenopsis xyloni. As the landscape has matured, the yellow Solenopsis amblychila have moved in instead. A few nights ago we noticed a swarming event just at sundown or about 6:00 p.m.
The colony was under a small fairy duster plant next to a sidewalk. The workers were swarming about excitedly.
The males came out first, like small airplanes getting lined up to take off.
One by one, the males moved out onto the open sidewalk.
In a blink of an eye, they were gone.
The princesses came out shortly later, when the light was too low for photographs.
It is unclear what triggered the ants to swarm. There hasn't been any rain in weeks. Perhaps it was the artificial rain of some nearby lawn sprinklers. Or perhaps it is simply because it is the end of the wildflower season and the fact that food, in the form of seeds, is wildly abundant.
No matter. It is always exciting to see ants swarming.