Black Garden Ant

©Don Sutherland

Black Garden Ant

Scientific name: Lasius niger
The Black Garden Ant is the familiar and abundant small ant that lives in gardens, but also turns up indoors searching for sugary food. In summer, winged adults, or 'flying ants', swarm and mate.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 3mm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to October

About

The Black Garden Ant is common in many habitats, including gardens where nests form under paving stones, in soil and between brickwork. During hot and humid summer weather, winged adults appear and swarm in large numbers; these 'flying ants' mate and eventually disperse to form new colonies. The colonies of the Black Garden Ant are huge, featuring thousands of workers who collect food, keep the nest clean and look after the young, and a queen who produces the eggs. The diet of the Black Garden Ant is varied, but it includes 'milking' (stroking) aphids for their honeydew.

How to identify

Black Garden Ant workers are small, wingless and brown-black, with nipped in waists, while the flying adults are larger and browner.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

There may be as many as 15,000 Black Garden Ants in a single colony.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work with pest controllers to find the most wildlife-friendly solutions to some of our everyday problems.