Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Solenopsis molesta (Say)
Orig. Comb: Myrmica molesta Say 1836
may actually be a complex of closely related and nearly indistinguishable species, but there is no modern revision of the group. Thompson's 1989 revision of Florida species in this group is helpful for distinguishing known relatives of eastern US. The types are lost. A move is afoot to have specimens collected from near Thomas Say's former home in New Harmony Indiana as neotypes.
1.4-1.5 mm workers, males 3.5 mm, queens 3.5-4+ mm depending on state of physogastry.
See Thompson (1989) below.
Moist soil in virtually any location; more likely to be found in sunny spots. Commonly nests in the mounds of other ants, in spaces not occupied by, but close to the brood chambers of the mound builders.
mostly Summer, Fall (BG data)
Generalist scavenger easily attracted to a variety of baits, often feeding on the underside of these, as larger ants feed simultaneously from above. Tends root-sap-feeding hemipterans, and preys on innocent, immobile larvae and pupae, including those of other ants.
Mating flights occur in the second half of summer, with large flights coinciding with those of common Lasius species near the end of summer. These occur on sunny, calm days following a cooling rain. First workers are raised by single or small groups of queens after these flights.
A very abundant and widely distributed species that goes mostly unnoticed because of its small size.
Thompson, C.R. 1989. The thief ants, Solenopsis molesta
group, of Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist, 72(2): 268-283. (PDF