Black garden ant

  • Scientific name: Lasius niger
  • Type: Insects

Key information

These insects are black or dark brown and nest in soil, lawns, at the base of walls or under flat stones. Ants are social insects; they live in colonies that consist mainly of workers – sterile, wingless females.

In July and August, winged males and females emerge for mating flights. They are about twice the size of the workers. Climatic conditions determine when these flying ants appear, and all the nests in any one area will generally erupt at the same time.

After mating, the males die, while females shed their wings and seek suitable nesting sites. Birds take many ants during these mating flights and only a few females (queens) survive to start new colonies.

What they eat:

Feeds on anything, especially if sweet. These ants 'milk' (stroke) aphids for their honeydew. When an ant finds food, it lays a scent (pheromone) trail to its nest for other workers to follow.

Measurements:

Length:
workers are up to 5mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Fence/wall Lawn/grassy area Patio Rock/stone pile

Where and when to see them

Throughout the garden, but often in paving cracks.

During the summer months. Flying ants in July and August.

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