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Formica Ant (Formica spp.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Formica Ant, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/25/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Formica Ant  
Picture of Formica-Ant
Picture of Formica-Ant

Formica Ants do not sting, but they can bite if threatened. Their greater defense comes from the formic acid they can spray from their abdomen.

Ants in the Formica genus have only 1 knob (bump) between the thorax and abdomen. They feed on the honeydew created by aphids (also in photo). The Formica Ant may actually act as a shepherd to the smaller aphids, moving them to an area of the plant so pull out the juices where the ant can then take the honeydew (juice) for itself.

This group of ants do not sting, but they can bite as well as spray formic acid from the tips of their abdomens. Colonies form in open grassland or under stones.

Professional exterminators should be contacted in the event of an infestation indoors.

Formica Ant Information

Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common Name: Formica Ant
Scientific Name: Formica spp.
Other Name(s): Black Ant, Silky Ant, Red Ant

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Hymenoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Formicidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Formica
       Arrow graphic Species: spp.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 3 mm to 12 mm (0.117 inches to 0.468 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; brown; red
Additional Descriptors: small, biting, colony, infest

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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