largest Ant and restricted to just one area of private
woodland in the east of the county. Formica rufa
makes large dome shaped nests of pine needles and small
twigs. This creates a weather-proof thatch, which in turn
creates warmth within the nest. The nest temperature is
regulated by the workers throughout the course of the
day, with entrances sealed at night to maintain heat.
Workers are very defensive and can spray formic acid in
defence, but this is actually not as bad as it sounds.
Photographed in late March 2009.