Nuptials in the night

Living in the tropics is full of adventure. Having come here from the high desert of Colorado it has been and still is an incredible learning and growing experience.

Todays topic is ants, we have here in the tropics an amazing array and quantity of ants.  I can't say I really appreciate them, but I do understand their purpose.  They are cleaners, sort of like the Sweepers on a spy show.  They swoop in and clean up the mess.

This morning, as happens most morning, my first order of business is to take a stroll about the garden.  Our 2 dogs, Tech and Ceniza don't come with me, they prefer to stay in bed with Tom, heck they sometimes even stay in bed after he gets up.  The fosters however, Lili and Rubi, are always more than happy to accompany me.

We had another BIG rain last night.  Thursday night was nearly 2 1/2 inches, last night was nearly 3.

After a rain, a substantial rain, when conditions are hot and humid,  and the wind is minimal, swarms  of winged  ants  will leave their nest and take flight. These ants that depart the nest are sexually active - according to wiki "This mating flights occur simultaneously in all ant nests of the particular species. The female "queen" ants will fly a long distance, during which they will mate with at least one winged male from another nest. He transfers sperm to the seminal receptacle of the queen and then dies. Once mated, the "queen" will attempt to find a suitable area to start a colony ..."

Thursday night we had friends over.  Normally we do our entertaining outside, it is waaaaay cooler outside.   Luckily Thursday night we were 7 total so being inside wasn't too bad.  The rain was relentless.  So as we were sitting around the table the small flying ants would drop around us. They were attracted during the night to the lights shining from inside.  My screens are covered in the ant wings which detach once they land.  I am still cleaning up ant wings from Thursdays swarm.

This morning, Saturday, as I was standing  out on the pergola admiring the jungle that my back garden has once again become, it sounded like rain drops hitting the leaves.  I looked  up, farther up than the tops of the quite tall trees, and there was a monstrous swarm of the large red black ants. It was a seriously huge swarm, and the ants were just dropping, like rain drops.  It's now over an hour since I first saw them and they are still out there, swarming and dropping.

Great, a queen wants to set up housekeeping in my back garden.  Where are the bats, the birds??????  why aren't they there feasting?????