© Stuart M Bennett 2000

Formica rufa
(Wood ant)

These are the big ants that you see when you are out for a walk in the woods, or whatever you do when you are in the woods, anyway these chaps build big mounds out of old leaves and other detritus and can be 2 - 3 feet high... so don't sit on one or else you'll know about it because even though they don't sting. The sting is entirely absent and the venom is ejected as a spray. The concentration of the formic acid that is stored in the receptacle of the venom glands is commonly 50% concentration and can be as much as 75% concentration, it is quite a feat to be able to store venom of this concentration, and in a quantity that may ammount to 20% of the whole body weight of the insect. If you are quiet near a mound you can quite easily hear the rustling that these ants make as they are busy with their chores. Protected by law in some European countries because of it's great value in destroying forest pests. Again this species of ant can have more than one queen in the nest.  In the picture above, you can see what each one of the different castes looks like.  Below is a picture of a wood ant defending an aphid farm....yes they do farm aphids just the same as we do cows.

I would think this wasp is a bit sick to say the least


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