Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L. taken in Bon Echo Provincial Park, ON
Image Credit: Arch Baker
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.
Scientific Name: Formica spp.
Other Name(s): Black Ant, Silky Ant, Red Ant
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 12mm (0.12in to 0.47in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.