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Is this a flying ant? How do I deal with it?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Offline sqrl - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:07 PM

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Hello all,

 

I need help with IDing what I think is a flying ant. I have never seen flying ants in my life, but after Googling some, I think that's what I've got.

 

My knowledge of insects and ants in particular does not go beyong your average "lay" person. So, please bear with me.
I need help with identifying, dealing, removing and prevening what I think is a variety of ants.

For the past couple of weeks (2-3wks of March) there have been appearing some insects which, I think, are ants. I am attaching some photos and videos.
Sorry for the inferior pic quality - the insect kept moving and moving and I tried the best I could.

To me - a "lay" person - it looks like a larger black coloured ant with wings. I saw it jump/fly from one spot to another.

I am in MOntreal, QC, Canada - if this location can help with identification.
Other info: I have lived in my current apartment for 5 years and have never had any insect like that (occasional centipedes, lady bugs and ordinary spiders are the extent of the insects I've seen here).
But only this March - the last couple of weeks - I've already encountered 5 of these "ants" (if that's what they are).
I also have some pets (rodents), but I've had my pets for the past 4 yrs and have never had any 'ants' like that. So I don't think i has anything to do with these pets.
I also have some old wood - old  tree limbs (maple).

All these limbs have been thoroughly washed, scrubbed and then treated with hot boiling water to kill all possible bugs/whatever. Each tree limb got anywhere between 5-9 pots of rolling boiling hot water (since I couldn't use fire to treat the limbs).
Also, most of my tree limbs have been here for a few years now (they are for my pets' habitat).
I did bring a couple of new tree limbs back in November, but they were already very old, and I scrubbed, washed and treated them with hot rolling boiling water as usual. And there were no insects from them whatsoever.

Also, these supposed "ants" (what I think are ants) appear only in the room where my pets live.

Again - I've had my pets in the same room for the past 4 yrs and never had any ants.

My questions are:
1) Are these ants?
2) What might have brought these ants here?

Since the environment has been the same - my pets with me for the past 4 yrs and their habitat for as long - where would these "ants" come from? What could attract them here?
3) How do I get rid of them? Since I have my little rodents, I cannot use any insecticides. And since my apartment is rather small, I cannot move my rodents temporarily anywhere in order to fumigate/treat their room. So I would really appreciate suggestions on how I could treat the room safely with my rodents still in the room (any homemade remedies?)
4) How do I prevent these 'ants' in the future?



#2 Offline sqrl - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:10 PM

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Here are pics and videos.
Sorry for the poor quality - the ant kept moving
http://vid940.photob...zk/WICO2063.mp4
 
 

 
IMG_5436.jpg
 
IMG_5435.jpg
 
IMG_5433.jpg


Edited by dspdrew, March 25 2016 - 8:49 PM.
Fixed video link


#3 Offline ctantkeeper - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:11 PM

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that is actually not a winged ant, it is a solitary wasp. it is of no threat to you or your home.



#4 Offline sqrl - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:12 PM

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I think one of the video links didn't work.

Here it is: th_WICO2063.mp4


Edited by dspdrew, March 25 2016 - 8:47 PM.
Fixed video link


#5 Offline sqrl - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:14 PM

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that is actually not a winged ant, it is a solitary wasp. it is of no threat to you or your home.

a wasp???

That's new.

It may pose some risks to my rodents. I am no worried about myself, I am concerned for my rodents.

 

What are the visible features of this insect that identify it as a wasp?

 

What could attract a wasp here?

And how could I prevent future wasps from coming here?

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.


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#6 Offline sqrl - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:17 PM

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that is actually not a winged ant, it is a solitary wasp. it is of no threat to you or your home.

a wasp???

That's new.

It may pose some risks to my rodents. I am no worried about myself, I am concerned for my rodents.

 

What are the visible features of this insect that identify it as a wasp?

 

What could attract a wasp here?

And how could I prevent future wasps from coming here?

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

 

Also, isn't a wasp supposed to have some yellow on its back? This one does not have any yellows at all.



#7 Offline ctantkeeper - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:19 PM

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that is actually not a winged ant, it is a solitary wasp. it is of no threat to you or your home.

a wasp???

That's new.

It may pose some risks to my rodents. I am no worried about myself, I am concerned for my rodents.

 

What are the visible features of this insect that identify it as a wasp?

 

What could attract a wasp here?

And how could I prevent future wasps from coming here?

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

 

you and your rodents are not at any risk of harm. the one in you video is most likley parasitic and produces the following generation by laying it's eggs in a living host (such as a caterpillar or a spider) and having the larvae feed on the host from within until they are ready to emerge. this will provide you with some free pest control for your yard but will not harm you or you pets.



#8 Offline ctantkeeper - Posted March 25 2016 - 6:22 PM

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that is actually not a winged ant, it is a solitary wasp. it is of no threat to you or your home.

a wasp???

That's new.

It may pose some risks to my rodents. I am no worried about myself, I am concerned for my rodents.

 

What are the visible features of this insect that identify it as a wasp?

 

What could attract a wasp here?

And how could I prevent future wasps from coming here?

 

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

 

you and your rodents are not at any risk of harm. the one in you video is most likley parasitic and produces the following generation by laying it's eggs in a living host (such as a caterpillar or a spider) and having the larvae feed on the host from within until they are ready to emerge. this will provide you with some free pest control for your yard but will not harm you or you pets.

 

the shape of its thorax, head, antennae and wings as well as it's erratic movement are all dead give aways. btw, wasps are very diverse an come in a wide variety of colors and shapes, so to answer your previous question, not all wasps are yellow and black.



#9 Offline klawfran3 - Posted March 25 2016 - 9:44 PM

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Potentially sphecidae? It looks like some very beautiful mud dauber wasp.

 

The wasp is probably looking for prey to lay its eggs in, usually caterpillars or spiders. The wasp will not harm any of your pets and will just flit around until they find what they're looking for. Then it will sting the food (again, either a spider or a caterpillar and NOT you or a rodent) and drag it back to a little burrow it created. Then it will lay an egg in the paralyzed bug and seal up the hole so other animals can't eat the bug. The baby will develop until it hatches out as an adult wasp.

 

They are harmless and very beneficial to have around. The features that identify it as a wasp can be very diverse, but in short they are its narrow waist, erratic walking and flitting, two pairs of wings, and sleek, often near-hairless body. Ants have an "elbowed" antennae while wasps have straight, unbent ones. Please don't kill it, I would just put it in a cup and release it outside.

 

You can prevent other wasps from entering your home but not leaving windows open and hiding sugary foods that could be enticing to them. Other than that if they get in your house, just move them outside. They are harmless as long as you don't try to crush or grab them. Then they could be alarmed and sting. Only female wasps sting too, but it can be difficult to differentiate between male and female wasps. It's best to treat all wasps with respect as if they could sting, and just gently move them with a cup.


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#10 Offline sqrl - Posted March 26 2016 - 8:07 AM

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klawfan and ctantkeeper - thank you for your detailed explanations. Very helpful - learned a lot already.

 

klawfan - but that's exactly what I am concerned about - stinging.

Since, as a human, I am huge and know to leave them alone, I am not worried about getting bitten.

But for small rodents - that's a totally different perspective (looking from their perspective - both physically and mentally). Rodents often go after insects and that's when they can get bitten - and that's my major concern, because a wasp bite on a human is nothing (unless there is an allergy), but a wasp bite on a small rodent is different  - there can be adverse reactions. There have been cases when insect bites on rodents resulted in all sorts of bad complications and health problems. That is why I cannot take chances and need to ensure there are no wasps (or any other insects around).

 

I will follow your suggestions, although there is no sugary food around there at all (my rodents don't eat anything that has sugar in it, and any fruit pieces are eaten right away - so there isn't even a leftover or a crumb).

And it's not like we get tons of spiders (let alone caterpillars - have never seen one here).

That's why I am surprised that these guys showed up - literally out of nowhere.

The environment/habits/everything has been exactly the same for the past 5 yrs, so cannot understand what brought them here. :thinking:



#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 26 2016 - 10:36 AM

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What exactly are these rodent pets of yours? Also, I can bet this is just a seasonal/temporary issue.



#12 Offline sqrl - Posted March 26 2016 - 5:49 PM

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What exactly are these rodent pets of yours? Also, I can bet this is just a seasonal/temporary issue.

rats and squirrels in rehab (i.e., orphaned baby squirrels raised to be released)



#13 Offline Shaye - Posted March 26 2016 - 8:50 PM

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I've seen countless amounts of these wasps and even if I purposefully bother them, they just fly away as a common fly would (They're after spiders and caterpillars, not looking for a fight). I've never seen them go anywhere near something as big as a rat or baby squirrel. I'm pretty sure i've even seen little lizards in my area eat them.


Edited by Shaye, March 26 2016 - 8:52 PM.

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?


#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted March 26 2016 - 9:48 PM

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Well I think all of these live together in nature and as far as I know don't commonly kill each other.



#15 Offline sqrl - Posted March 27 2016 - 9:45 AM

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Well I think all of these live together in nature and as far as I know don't commonly kill each other.

this is rather condescending, especially from an admin.

 

well, this is not "nature" where each occupies its own niche and can go separate ways, this is a completely different environment where they cannot avoid each other. When animals are not in their natural habitat, their behavior changes.

Moreover, since, apparently, you have no experience with small mammals, you cannot possibly know of all the cases when an animal in rehab would get bitten by an insect, which it would normally avoid in the wild.

 

I came here for an advice/information on how to best deal with these insects so that I do not have to squash them and I could simply prevent them from coming here in the most peaceful and harmless way.

I did not come here for any condescending remarks from people who have no clue about small mammals/insects potential risks and who minimize my legitimate concerns which come from my rehabbing experience.

 

If you do not know what to suggest - better not to say anything instead of making dismissive, condescending comments.

Nice "admin." Not


Edited by sqrl, March 27 2016 - 9:46 AM.


#16 Offline Mads - Posted March 27 2016 - 10:09 AM

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Huh? How was Drew's remark condescending? He was just pointing out that the two species have no interest in each other and most likely won't even come in contact. It seems to me you have already made up your mind what you want to do. It has been pointed out, repeatedly, that these insects won't sting unless provoked and have no other option but to sting.

 

Sorry if the answers you were given were not to your liking, but I think most of these answers were quite helpful in my opinion.

 

Mads



#17 Offline LC3 - Posted March 27 2016 - 12:40 PM

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They would much rather run away then engage in stinging chances are they'll be gone before you can make them sting you, some parasitic wasps can't sting because their sting is too elongated and used for laying eggs, although this wasp doesn't seem to have a sting like that, their stings are mainly used for insects. Unlike other wasps like yellowjackets who have stings that can do some harm. Basically they can't do much harm. 

 

As for preventing these wasps, not much I assume they're rather small and just like spiders and lady bugs they'll get into you house once in a while. A technicque you could use is finding a flat surface and  putting a plastic cup over it and slipping something thin (like a credit card) underneath the cup effectively trapping it.

 

The wasps you should watch out for are the ones with thin yellow stripes or large black ones with whitish yellow markings,


Edited by LC3, March 27 2016 - 12:43 PM.


#18 Offline sqrl - Posted March 27 2016 - 2:08 PM

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@Mads - have you even understood what I posted?... if not - please re-read. I am not referring to "some of the answers" - in fact, I found "some of the answers" very helpful (from ctantkeeper and klawfan3).

And while it's nice for you to stick up for your fellow board member, esp. your admin - that post was dismissive.

Again, "as far as I know" (the admin's words) and "most likely"(your words) is precisely what I addressed as there is still a chance for stinging I simply cannot risk, because as I pointed out already - I know of situations when animals in rehab have been bitten by all sorts of insects who found their way inside, but which would normally be of no risk to said mammals in the wild.

Please work on your reading comprehension.

 

I didn't come here asking for your opinion on the risk of small mammals being bitten.

You have no relevant experience to answer a question like that comprehensively.

I only asked what  could be done to prevent/discourage these insects from coming here in the future. If you do not know that, that's ok, but - refrain from voicing your unwarranted opinion on the subject you have no clue about.

 

To admins - please delete this thread.

 

Thank you


Edited by sqrl, March 27 2016 - 2:09 PM.


#19 Offline Mads - Posted March 27 2016 - 2:46 PM

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:rolleyes:

 

I actually have many years in the commercial production of rodents (many species) and insects/arachnids, so yes, I do have relevant experience. Solitary wasps pose next to zero risks for your beloved rodents. If you are that concerned about them (the rodents) I suggest you cover their enclosures in insect screen to minimize the risk of any wasp or other stinging insect can ever come in contact with them. Other than that, they are just another insect you will simply have to learn to live with.

 

Mads


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#20 Offline sqrl - Posted March 27 2016 - 7:24 PM

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:rolleyes:

 

I actually have many years in the commercial production of rodents (many species) and insects/arachnids, so yes, I do have relevant experience. Solitary wasps pose next to zero risks for your beloved rodents. If you are that concerned about them (the rodents) I suggest you cover their enclosures in insect screen to minimize the risk of any wasp or other stinging insect can ever come in contact with them. Other than that, they are just another insect you will simply have to learn to live with.

 

Mads

you just keep missing the point, don't you?

 

"Commercial production of rodents" (whatever that means unless this is a convoluted way of saying "breeding") has nothing to do with rehabilitating small mammals - completely different goals, arrangement, treatment and concerns.

So, no, unless you have been involved in wild animal rehab, you have no relevant experience.






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