Formica Ant Hills

Formica Ant

As you begin walking from the Wyckford Lane entrance to Champlain North Open Space on the red trail, you’ll enter a small meadow.  On either side of the meadow, you’ll see mounds of soil.

These are hills built by a Formica ant species, a classification of ants commonly called mound ants, wood ants or thatching ants.

Mound-building Formica can have a considerable effect on their environment, maintaining populations of aphids as a food source and preying on other insects, including tree pests such as eastern tent caterpillars. While the life expectancy of ants varies by species, some from the genus Formica can live for 15 years.

Formica nests vary in type but can include excavations in soil that can create the large mounds you’ll see in Champlain North.  Such ant hills can be up to 3 to 4 feet wide and 2 feet tall.  

They are often located in open areas like meadows.  Of interest to hikers and visitors, Formica ants are diurnal (active during the daytime), so you can see them actively working around their mounds.

Be cautious and respectful around the anthills.  While Formica do not sting, these ants can bite using strong mouth parts. They may also spray formic acid from the tips of their abdomens at predators or perceived threats (like human fingers).

Thanks to Wikipedia

Picture of Eastern BluebirdEastern Bluebird

The Lyme Old Lyme High School Environmental Club built bluebird houses to help reverse a severe population decline suffered by these beautiful birds.

One such bird house is mounted close to an anthill on Champlain North.