THIS 1 cm long wingless insect puzzled me. It was searching and probing in the cracks
between the paving blocks at Ossett market place. A wingless equivalent of a hunting
wasp? A wood ant that had been accidentally transported here?
A small ant wandering around nearby made me realise what it must be: a queen ant.
At this time of year there’s a nuptial flight, when thousands of winged queens and
winged males are released by ant colonies.
After mating, the queen removes her wings, excavates a small burrow and lays the
eggs, which will, after going through the grub and pupa stage, become the first workers
of her colony.