Location: Near Reinhold, PA
May 15, 2012 8:56 am
Hi Daniel, hope all is going well! Have you pinned down your date and location for National Moth Week yet? As soon as you do let us know and we can spotlight WTB and the event on the NMW website. So, I found this cluster of ants on the side of a tussock sedge in a freshwater wetland near Reinhold, PA last week. I was hoping that you can help with the ID and what behavior they are exhibiting. They are pretty cool looking! Thanks, Dave
Signature: Dave Moskowitz
We believe these are Wood Ants or Field Ants in the genus Formica. According to BugGuide: “Known as wood (or forest) ants, field ants or mound ants, depending on habitat preference and nesting habits of the various species. Most prefer non-flooded, open woodlands, openings in temperate forest, or grasslands. A few (mostly northern) species are more or less specialists in openings in boreal forests, fens or bogs, riparian areas, and a small number of species live in the full shade of closed canopy deciduous or mixed forests. Nests are built in soil or less often in rotten wood on the ground. The nest may be elevated above the surface as a mound constructed of earth and/or plant fragments.” They could possibly be Allegany Mound Ants, Formica exsectoides, though BugGuide does not list fens or bogs as the habitat. We are not certain what they are doing.
Because of Julian’s schedule, we are doing our national moth week event on Saturday July 21. I have had this posted on WTB? for months. I will do a new posting soon.
Thanks on both fronts. The ants were very cool. I tried to go back last week and collect a few but they were gone. Hope you can figure out what they are and we’re doing! As for your NMW event, if you can send me a little writers about WTB and your event we will post it on the blog and hopefully help promote both. Wish I was closer to actually meet you guys and grab a beer, Dave