One of nature’s true miracles, one that we Catalinans look forward to every summer, is the “Time of the Ant.” After the first substantial rains, ants burst forth from the ground like little angels with wings, forming tall columns of swirling, joyful creatures that hover above a favorite place above the ground for an hour or two each morning, in acts of conjugation. Sadly, the male participant dies after his reproductive act, while the female and new queen, goes happily off to try and start a new colony, one that may bring us joy in the summers ahead. Its really quite something.
Many nature lovers rush to Arizona from non-flying ant climes to see this remarkable event, which may only last a day or two following the rains. The first episode usually contains the greatest masses of flying ants, and so many come to Arizona at the beginning of July so that they do not miss the “festivities.”
Swarms in the first emergence of the flying ants in summer may number in the tens of thousands, seemingly in a swirling mass of chaos to us. But to them, it is EVERYTHING that they have dreamed of; oh, to fly! Imagine YOU wake up one morning with wings (!), and then had the urge to fly out the door and have sex somewhere, like over someone’s carport! Of course, many would consider this untoward behavior, but I was just trying to get you inside the mind of a flying ant on their wonderful day of emergence, maybe see things in a different light.
After the big rain of the day before, 1.09 inches here, I was ready for them!
I was lucky enough to capture some of the fun-loving, mischievous little creatures yesterday, with some Altocumulus clouds in the background for a good, contrasting backdrop. For your amusement and pleasure, these wonderful shots:
Did good up around Oracle Ridge, which got a remarkable 2.64 inches in a couple of hours late yesterday afternoon and evening. Cloud details below…. Not much rain elsewhere since the clouds kept redeveloping in the same area.