Wednesday, April 05, 2006
The ants are back
After many cold months the wrinkled ants, Myrmica ruginodis, have reappeared under Gingerbread Refuge exactly as they did last year, but about a week later. I think they lay their eggs at this stage as in summer they move on to other sites, returning to the Refuge from time to time. Though it is cold they are very busy building earth chambers and I have seen several foraging workers out in the open.
Some of the literature indicates that the wrinkled ant has one stable nest site, though little is known, it is said, about how these are founded. However, from my observations they seem to be very restless, with the entire colony always moving to new quarters during the warmer months and disappearing from sight in winter.
The first solitary bees are on the wing now and I caught a very early dance fly Rhamphomyia sulcata (Empididae). Behind the square metre the box bush has started flowering, also rather late, and the flowers usually attract large numbers of insects on sunny mornings (not so many in the afternoon).