Caught a couple of queens earlier, one dealate and one still with wings, hoping she'd remove them soon.
The winged queen did not remove them, so, after about three hours, I decided to release her. I opened the container she was in, expecting her to fly off but instead she climbed to the edge and dropped to the ground. She immediately started fussing with her wings, I thought maybe she was straightening them out but she didn't fly off and kept rubbing them. As the cat was trying to get my attention and threatening to trample her (would not be the first time...) I ushered the queen into a test-tube I had on me.
She ran about in the tube and ignored her wings, even when placed in the dark.
So, I held the test tube open, over a small RUB, and let her crawl out and drop into the box. She immediately climbed half way up the side of the box and removed her wings.
Has anyone else noticed behaviour like this? Is the drop to the ground some sort of trigger for wing removal?
I find it interesting as well that she climbed off the ground to remove them, as I found another of these parasitic Lasius queens while half way up a wall removing her wings.
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Queen ants either pull off their wings once they land, or rub them against a stone on the ground as a rule. Though I have a fully mated queen who still has both of her wings, even though she will never use them to fly again.