Ant (Common Black Garden)
The Common Black Garden Ant is a small insect that can often be found in gardens and this is why it has the name ‘Garden Ant’. It lives in a big colony called a ‘state’ and thousands of ants can belong to one colony. Each colony has a queen ant that produces eggs and female ‘workers’ that collect food, keep the nest clean and look after the young. A colony also has flying male ants.
The Common Garden Ant has a small head with two antennae, a thorax and an abdomen which is the rear part of the body. The thorax is the middle part of the body which holds three pairs of thin jointed legs. Also between the thorax and the abdomen, the Common Black Garden Ant has a tiny ‘waist’. The queen ant is almost black and is about one and half centimetres long and the workers are brown-black and about four to five millimetres in length. The workers are wingless, but the queen has long transparent wings which she loses late summer. The queen and male flying ants can be seen flying around in July and August.
Common Black Garden Ants build their nests in walls, under stones in soil, under logs and under paving stones in gardens. They take plants, fungi and seeds to the nest to eat, but they especially like to collect honeydew drops produced by plant lice called 'aphids'.