Ants are a group of insects that includes black ants, red ants, wood ants and 'flying ants'.
Ants, along with bees and wasps, form the insect group called Hymenoptera. They are recognised by their 3 fairly distinct body parts and often by the absence of wings. The most familiar are the few species that occasionally invade our kitchens and store cupboards in search of suitable food.
The most frequent visitor is the common black ant, Lasius niger, but other non native species are also becoming more widespread within homes. The Pharaohs ants and Argentine ants are examples.
All UK species live in complex colonies. Their annual swarming event, which produces myriads of winged queens and males, usually in August and September, often causes unnecessary concern.
Ants are beneficial in controlling numbers of other invertebrates and they also play a vital role improving and conditioning the soil.
Number of UK species: about 60
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