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Posted July 8 2017 - 10:44 AM
LocationSan Bernardino County, CA.
Dunno how soaked the ground will be, but there has been a fast moving cloud of precipitation that started on the eastern side of the Salton Sea and has quickly moved its way up north into the main central road of Joshua Tree.
Need a confirmation of how wet the area will be, might go tonight.
UPDATE 2, headings towards 29 palms:
Might drive into that area tonight, do some night anting and stay til the next day. See what has flown. Could very well come back with nothing, but the rain looks heavy enough in some parts.
Did you ever make the trip? What website is the data from? New to ant keeping and I hope I could get a few more before the season ends!
I have never had such bad luck black lighting before. I've been out to the canyon about six times this year, and there's almost no ants flying every time. I saw a total of 5 ants on my black light tonight, and the conditions were perfect. I don't get it. Maybe it's because we went right back to never getting any rain again. We've gotten almost no rain since December, so the ground is about as dry as can be. Luckily, one of the five queens I found was a Camponotus fragilis, which I was hoping to find soon. The rest were just Crematogaster.
The area just north of the Mojave Preserve just got some good rain again yesterday evening, so I'll be heading out there again tomorrow night. I'm hoping they don't get rain in the same exact spots tomorrow, or that might screw things up for me.
The trip turned out pretty good. At first I thought I was screwed because when I showed up the wind was blowing really hard, but I ended up finding Novomessor cockerelli that night anyway. There really wasn't much more activity than that. I didn't try black lighting the first night, just walked around looking for wandering N. cockerelli queens. This time after it got light I actually still found quite a few more. Usually they hide and are almost impossible to find by that time.
A little later in the morning after the sun came up, Forelius sp. started flying and were all over the place for the rest of the day. I drove up Nipton road a little ways and stopped to check some other spots out that got pretty intense rain two days before. To my delight, the first founding chamber I dug up was a Myrmecocystus cf. mendax. This spot was almost all honeypot ants, with maybe 1 to 2 percent of the founding chambers being Pogonomyrmex rugosus, which I already have enough of. It looked like the M. mexicanus and M. navajo might have flown the night of the rain, because they were already quite deep and hard to find. the Myrmecocystus cf. mendax and M. mimicus must have flown that morning, because a lot of them were just starting to dig their nests.
Here's what the area looked like.
For most of the morning the weather was perfect--cloudy with temps in the high 70's to low 80's. As the day went on, storm clouds slowly started forming, and eventually there was lightning so I headed back to my car. I figured this would be a good time to get some sleep, so I slept for a while in my truck while it was cool out.
I woke up to rain drops hitting my forehead through my cracked open window. There were some pretty intense storms going through the area so I drove down the hill to check them out.
All the rain was bringing out the desert tortoises. They like to drink the water off the roads. It makes me wonder how many of them get run over by cars when they do this.
I wanted to get it off the road, but no way was I going to touch the thing haha. I don't need any legal trouble.
From what I read, I guess this one was adopted by someone as part of some Nevada program of some sort because it has a tracking device glued to its shell, as you can see in the video.
Well, after it got dark and most of the storms blew away, I decided to try black lighting. That didn't last long before there were more bolts of lightning right over my head, so I quickly aborted that. I'm terrified of getting struck. It looked like nothing but Crematogaster, Solenopsis, and Dorymyrmex flying anyway so I just headed home.