Yellow meadow ant

Yellow meadow ant ©Paul Richards

Yellow meadow ant

Scientific name: Lasius flavus
The Yellow meadow ant is known for creating anthills in grassland habitats. It has a close relationship with the Chalkhill blue butterfly - protecting the larvae in return for a sugary substance they secrete.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 2-4mm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Yellow meadow ant is familiar to us as the common ant that creates anthills in grassland and downland habitats, but also appears in our gardens if the grass is not cut too often. They build a soil dome above the nest (which can extend a metre below the ground) to help regulate temperature and humidity. Like all ants, the Yellow meadow ant is social and forms colonies; the workers are mainly active underground, however, and not often seen unless the nest is disturbed. During summer, winged adults pair and mate, the females dispersing to form new colonies.

How to identify

The Yellow meadow ant is, as its name suggests, a yellowy-brown colour. It is one of several closely related and very similar species that build anthills.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Yellow meadow ants spend most of their life underground where they feed on honeydew produced by aphids which they 'farm' on the roots of grass.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.