Formica (Wood Ants)
The Formica Genus is one of the most widespread and commonly found ant genus across the world. They are also often referred to as "field ants", "wood ants", or "mound ants". As their name refers, Formica species are usually found in heavily wooded areas where there are no shortage of supplies they use to construct their anthills. Although they are commonly seen in forests, they have adapted to nesting in a variety of different environments including forests, fields, prairies, deserts, and more. They could be nesting inside old, dead logs or even under a large rock depending on the species.
They are highly variable with countless different colourations that can vary from location to location, the workers of wood ants are usually very fast moving, slim in appearance, and can exhibit flamboyant colouration and patterns.
The founding of non-parasitic Formica queens is usually quite straight forward, just like most other ant species. These queens are more than happy to be left alone for a while as they lay eggs and build the foundation to a new colony.
Parasitic Formica species however, require a lot more work and love to be put in by the keeper during their founding stages. Providing freshly mated queens with pupae or callow workers of the host species is necessary in encouraging the queens to begin laying eggs.
Field ants love their sweets. Workers can often be observed in the wild tending to aphids or mealybugs and protecting them from predators in order to lap up the precious honeydew those insects produce. Due to this nature, be sure to offer your colonies substantial amounts of sugary food such as honey or sugar water, but definitely do include enough protein in their diet as well.
We have composed of a complete guide on how to keep and raise ants from the Formica genus, which you can read here.
Happy ant keeping!