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Why do some ants have wings? © Getty Images

Why do some ants have wings?

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These winged wonders are seen but once a year.

Asked by: Terry Croft, Slough

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The ants you normally see scurrying around the garden are wingless females. They do all the work of the colony, but they are sterile. The flying ants are the male drones and virgin queens that are produced by the colony, once a year. These are sent out en masse, when the weather conditions are right, to start new colonies.

© Peter Sucheski
© Peter Sucheski
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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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