If you go down to the woods today…..

This brilliant wood is definitely not the place to sit down and have a picnic, even with a teddy bear !

It is home to amazing colonies of the Wood Ant and they were very active in yesterday’s sun.

The videos below show the number of ants and the constant work they are doing. You can hear them moving about. Watch an individual and what it does. They are fascinating.

The ants are everywhere in the wood, they have large mounds for the colony , they are foraging across the floor and scaling high up the trees.

Some of these mounds are very tall and spread a long way. Here is a diagram of the organisation below.

These ants are Southern Red Wood Ants ( Formica rufa) Green woodpeckers are fond of eating these and meadow ants that can also be found in the area.

Southern Red Wood Ants are also known as the Red Wood Ant. They are aggressive predators that feed on invertebrates collected from the area around the colony.A colony can be huge, containing up to half a million ants.After watching them yesterday this is very easy to believe!

These animals are fascinating ,here are a few facts but there is so much to find out about them , their social structure and life cycle. A great website to find out more is:http://www.woodants.org.uk

Wood Ant Facts

Ants are insects they have three parts to their body a head a thorax and an abdomen and they have six jointed legs.

  • There are more ants in the world than any other creature.
  • Colonies act as one organism with roles that can change.
  • The life expectancy of a worker Wood Ant is 60 days.
  • The life expectancy of a Queen is 15 years or even more.
  • They can spray formic acid for defence up to 12 times their body length.
  • They navigate through sight and small, they have memories of routes even after hibernation.
  • They can lift 100 times their body weight.
  • The method of nest construction is important for thermoregulation.
  • They sunbathe on the top of the nest on a sunny day , this absorbed heat is released when they are in the brood chamber.
  • The thatch layer on the outside of the nest is also waterproof.

A brilliant walk , with literally millions on animals .

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