Hiking last Monday I came across what looked at first like C Vicinus Carpenter Ants except they had read heads more consistent with Thatching Ants.
The close-up pictures confirmed they were Thatching Ants, so what were they doing in a log with tons of Carpenter Ant frass on the ground under the log? I contacted Laurel Hansen, world-famous entomologist regarding carpenter ants. She confirmed they were Thatching Ants and said in the natural decay process of the log the fresh wood is mined by carpenter ants and then as more decay occurs the Thatching Ants would move into the Carpenter Ant galleries. If enough decay occurs with enough continuous moisture, Moisture Ants might take over from the Thatching Ants. In conjunction with decay/rot, they all work to return the log to dirt.
Another oddity (for me) was this picture of an all white ant.
According to Laurel, this is the color of the ants when they have first emerged from their pupal shell.
So these Thatching Ant posers were not carpenter ants at all. About twenty yards away, their cousins had a more familiar location on the ground.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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