We have over 40 species of ant in England and in our website we have described the Common Black Garden Ant, European Red Ant, and the Wood Ant. We will be writing about the Yellow Meadow Ant soon. All the above ants are the most common species found in our country
Ants are social insects (like some bees and some wasps) and are very common and widespread. They construct colonies (nests) and each colony has a precise and well-developed caste system. The caste system divides members of the colony with specific tasks so each colony has a Queen, many female workers, many soldiers and some males that reproduce. This complex social interaction has allowed ants to be one of the most successful of all the insect groups.
One example of this complex behaviour is seen every summer: the so called 'marriage flight' of the ant. On a warm summer evening large winged female queens and many winged males swarm from the nest and take part in a brief flight during which they mate. On returning to the ground the males die. The females shed their wings and crawl into safe places on the ground to hibernate for the winter. Some even return to the nest to hibernate. In spring the surviving female queen ants seek a suitable spot to start a new colony.