View Full Version : Wood ants
I was wandering in Newton wood near Exeter yesterday and came across a number nests ants (about 1cm long, redish black colour), they were in the open and made a mass about maybe 4-6 ants thick and about 30-60cm in diameter. Anyone know what they were doing ? They had not been disturbed as they were not moving very fast. The only time I've seen something like that was in Africa just before it rains, flying ants all take off at roughly the same time and the soldier ants are there to protect them, the worker ants to attend the flying ants: so you get a mass of ants around the entrance of the nest.
They are more than likely taking the chance to warm them selves mate, this time of year wood ants are putting mass effort to build up their nest and colony moving nest materials and food into the nest, early in the year they move to the top of the nest and warm them selves in the sun to become more active.They look like a heap of caviar sitting on top of the nest. Ants are facinating to watch, ive seen ants as big as your thumb in Borneo! :eek:
Cheers for the info, had forgotten about the sun! Made perfect sense as soon as I read your post, I returned after dark to find them gone "in", they are fasinating to watch, aggresive and very fast little beggars too: they will attack almost anything.
And they bite! :eek:
If you want to know more about ants, I can reccomend an excellent book called "Earth dwellers". I forget the name of the author, but he accompanied that most eminant of ecologists and all round top bloke Edward O. WIlson on some of his expeditions, I'm sure a quick google or Amazon search will turn up his name and the ISBN number.
I remember a walk in the woods in Exmoor and seeing a couple of nests. They looked to be in top gear. The outside of the nest seamed to be moving, covered by ants. I took a great pictures (even if i do say so myself). Only wished i understood how to upload them to show you guys. As you have said they are just great to watch. I have seen Mears raid a nest on his DVD, but didn't have the heart to do it my self. Has any one else done it ?
Tastes like scrambled egg!
And the ants taste citrusy - like lemon!!
When I was very young, we used to help the local kids collect termites for food, you put a twig down termite mound and they grab on, then you pull out the termites and put them in a bottle by running your fingers down the twig, the soft back end is the bit you eat, tastes like peanut butter but it still has crunchy bits which I don't like. I didn't realise you could eat wood ants, they looked very "crunchy" and pretty aggressive so don't think I would try to eat them. Out of interest though, how do you collect them/cook them without being eaten alive?
When I was small my dad used to tell me that if I was bad he would take my trousers down and sit me on an wood ants nest :eek: . He never meant it but then the threat worked.
They are one of my favourite wee beasties.
If you want to be knowledgabe get one on your hand and then wave a stick or your finger just above it. They will then raise their abdomen and squirt formic acid at you which does indeed taste of lemon. Formica rufa if anyone wanted to know that.