Monday 7 March 2022

Minibeast Monday - Awesome Ants


There still aren't many insects out and about in Cumbria yet, but the ants are starting to emerge. Love them or loathe them, they are fascinating insects and make interesting 'pets'. A colony of pet ants is called a formicarium. I spotted this Citronella Ant, Lasius sp., (they get their name from the lemony odour they emit when threatened) on a wall, here in Cockermouth.

10 Awesome Ant Facts

  1. Ants are closely related to bees and wasps. Together with Sawflies, they constitute the insect order HYMENOPTERA.

  2. Ants are more closely related to Bees than wasps are to either of them.

  3. There are an estimated 22,000 species of ant and they all belong to the same family: FORMICIDAE.

  4. Once a year, males and females take to the air in a nuptial flight

  5. A winged ant is called an alate.

  6. Ants can both bite and sting, in self defence.

  7. Bullet Ants of Central and South America have the most painful sting of any insect.

  8. The painfulness of stings is measured on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index

  9. Pain is not the same as toxicity. Although the bullet ants may have the most painful sting, the only potentially fatally toxic sting is that of the Jack Jumper Ant of Australia.

  10. In some parts of Africa and South America, large ants are used to suture wounds.

If you fancy having a go at starting your own formicarium, starter kits are available.

Click on image for details

Here are some ant books which you might like to add to your natural history library:

More from me, later in the week,

All the best,


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