Red wood ant (Formica aquilonia) nest temperatures. When the weather is rainy or overcast then bark beetles do not fly, this is when I study red wood ants. The white wires running up the nest are then going down a wooden dowel into the nest where the thermometers are inserted to various depths. The warmest part of the nest is usually about 30 cm below the top of the nest. A rain gauge is also standing near the nest, however, this only measures total rain and thus a more precise measure of rain activity is needed. This will probably be a microphone-like apparatus that is connected to a data logger to detect falling rain. I'm interested in the interactions (causes and effects) between nest temperature, foraging activity, and weather.

Images © 1996 by John A. Byers, Chemical Ecology.