Thatching Ants

Thatching Ants, Vancouver Island, BC
Thatching Ants, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Thatching Ants are a species of Formica ant that often build huge nests. Their nests are usually large mounds out of sticks, leaves, grass, and pine needles. They also can nest in decaying logs.

They are considered both an annoyance and a benefit for various different reasons. The annoyance comes because they can severely damage landscaping and can wreak havoc on some fruit trees or saplings, but a benefit because they do more than their fair share in controlling other insects.

They are social insects that live together in large colonies. They also bring in aphids to their colonies, so that they can have the sweet honeydew that is produced by them. The thatching ants will provide food for and protect the aphids from their own natural predators, thus creating an overabundance of aphids in some cases.

These ants are either all black or red and black in color and measure up to 1.5 cm long. The reproductive ants referred to as males and queens, are the only winged thatching ants. Worker ants have no wings.

Thatching Ant, Vancouver Island, BC
Thatching Ant, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Thatching ants should be avoided by humans when possible as they have a very painful bite and will spray the bite with an acid that causes a burning sting. Ant colonies start with a single queen ant who will build up her colony from hundreds to thousands as she reproduces.

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2 thoughts on “Thatching Ants”

  1. I live in Surrey BC, and we have a very large mound of ants, probably 2 to 3 feet high, mostly grass and soil it seems. There is a second colony started several metres away. The colony is a neighbourhood asset we think. It is in an area designated as a city park. I wonder if I sent you a picture if you could identify the ants and tell me something about them? Or contact me at 604 597 4323

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