Small Woodland Owners' Group

Hairy ants!

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Postby tracy » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:54 am

Hairy wood ants? We know where you live !

The Forestry Commission knows where the formidable hairy northern wood ants

live, and has used GPS technology to plot their whereabouts on hi-tech maps, so

that these rare creatures can be protected during forestry operations.

The ants create tall conical ‘skyscrapers’ using millions of conifer needles, and when

they’re not busy building, they bask in the sun in order to gather heat which they take

‘indoors’ to warm their eggs.

These creatures are very rare and only occur in two other FC locations in North

East England. Their tower-like homes can be seven feet tall (equivalent in ant-terms

to some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers), and are a spectacular sight in Holystone

Wood. However, some 10,000 tonnes of timber is due to be felled in the area, so

forest rangers have identified 69 ant nests and plotted them using GPS devices, so

that they will not be damaged during the work.

See (Images of the ant, Formica lugubris,

are at

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