My myrmica rubra colony now has quite a few male and female alates and tonight there has been lots of activity. The alates seem to be getting agitated and buzzing round the nest. The drones in particular seem to be pestering female workers quite a bit. I know that normally there are mating flights but I wondered if it was possible for matings to take place within the confines of nest? Has anyone had any experience of this in one of their own colonies?
I have witnessed a male rubra in one of my old rubra colonies try mating with workers just outside the nest entrance. Had they been female alates I think he would have successfully mated with them. So I'd say yes, it is possible.
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I'll keep my eyes peeled to see if any newly mated queens become apparent. It would be amazing if it were possible as it means the colony could survive indefinitely if new matings were taking place every year!