After so many cold, wintery days it was wonderful yesterday to enjoy springlike weather with a walk on some of the nature trails in the Bosque along the Rio Grande River near our house. Besides the pleasure of being outside, we were treated to a natural phenomena that for a time had us wondering what it was that we were seeing.
When we got out of our car in the parking lot we noticed swarms of small insects flying around us and crawling on the ground and sidewalks. It reminded me of those times when you happen to be by the water somewhere and there is a hatch of mayflies that cause the fish to jump up in a feeding frenzy. But we weren’t by the water yet at that point in our walk.
After strolling around for a mile or two on the trails along the river and through the Bosque we again began to notice the flying insect swarms. And this time we also noticed that on the soft, muddy spots of the trail there would be large groups of the insects gathered in a cluster. We bent down and looked closer and were fascinated to see that in the center of the clusters there were small holes in the ground and the winged insects were climbing out of the holes. Not only that, but there were larvae or worms crawling out of the holes, too. That’s what I captured in this video, if you have the patience to watch for a minute.
Anyway, it was fun to observe this mystery of nature. And then when we got home and did some research we think that what we were seeing was a hatching and swarming of flying ants, brought out by the sudden warming trend in the weather. Interesting to read about the behavior of ant colonies and the short-lived life cycle of the flying ants.