Formica Ant (Formica spp.)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Formica Ant.
Updated: 5/23/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Formica Ants do not sting, but they do have a few good defensive tricks up their sleeve thanks to internal chemistry and jagged 'teeth'.
Ants in the Formica genus have only 1 knob (bump) between the thorax and abdomen. They feed on the honeydew, a term for the sweet liquid excrement created by aphids (also in photo). The Formica Ant may actually act as a shepherd to the smaller aphids, moving them to different areas of the plant over time in order to keep the aphids fed. The ant can then have a somewhat sustainable supply of the honeydew for itself and its colony.
This group of ants do not sting, but they can bite using strong mouth parts. They also spray formic acid from the tips of their abdomens at predators or perceived threats like human fingers. The formic acid can cause mild to sever irritation depending on the proximity of the target. Colonies form in open grassland or under stones. Professional exterminators should be contacted in the event of an indoor infestation because only the death of the queen can create a permanent destruction of a colony.