After disturbing this colony, I also inadvertently disturbed a colony of reddish colored ants (Aphaenogaster tennesseensis). With the termites exposed, the ants took full advantage of the available food source and began attacking in earnest. I saw one worker ant attack and drag off a newly emerged winged queen.
In spite of the fact that this winged termite was much larger than the ant, it was determined to drag it home to feed its own colony. It tugged, it pulled, it walked backwards, forwards, but never once did it let go of that termite. The termite was very much alive and wiggling around trying to free itself, but the ant was having none of it!
I found approximately a dozen worker ants all with termites in their powerful jaws, dragging away their captives. We all have heard that ants are the strongest creatures on the planet in terms of what they can lift compared to their body size. After looking at these photos it is easy to see why. These two species lived side-by-side under the bark of that tree, seemingly oblivious to each other, but once I did the unthinkable and tore off the bark of that tree, it was mass chaos. The ants saw an opportunity and took full advantage of it, and the termites seemed defenseless against the onslaught. I sent these pictures to a friend of mine, who is an expert on ants....and he put it most eloquently when he stated "It is a Bug-eat-bug world out there!"