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Nest Quest

Buglife is calling upon YOU to join the race to find Scotland’s largest Wood Ant nests!  Enter the Nest Quest Competition and have the chance to win a year’s Buglife membership You can win by either finding the largest wood ant nest in Scotland or by finding the most wood ant nests. You have till October 31st to win! Send in your information, the nest information and a photo to the ‘Submit your data’ section and please share your photo via social media using the hashtag #nestquest  

 

In Scotland, we have two species of Wood Ant, the Hairy wood ant (Formica lugubris) and the Scottish wood ant (Formica aquilonia). They are very difficult to tell apart and it takes someone with a lot of experience to be able to identify which species is which! 

Scottish Wood Ant (Formica aquilonia) © Gabor Pozsgai

Scottish Wood Ant (Formica aquilonia) © Gabor Pozsgai

Wood ants are incredible insects with their amazing defensive acid spray, architectural prowess and agricultural talents. They are also an essential part of the Woodland ecosystem, performing important jobs such as dispersing seeds, stimulating the roots and shoots of trees, distributing nutrients around the woodland and as a food source for other wildlife such as birds like the Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus)and mammals such as  Badgers(Meles meles).

A typical wood ant nest looks like a large pile of pine needles sat next to a tree or a tussock of grass and they can be found in coniferous, mixed and broadleaved forests. They love, and need the sun to keep their nest warm so will choose somewhere that isn’t too shaded. Have a careful look at the surface of the nest to make sure there are ants busy working on it and it is an active colony.

Wood ant nest © Jenni Stockan

Wood ant nest © Jenni Stockan

   

Wood ant nest © Jenni Stockan

Wood ant nest © Jenni Stockan

 

Please download the Nest Quest Guide and Flyer to the right and the ‘Grid Ref UK and Ireland’ App to assist with identifying the Grid reference of your nest. Click here for Andriods.

If you find a nest please do not disturb the ants by touching the nest or picking up any of the ants. We need your help to conserve these amazing creatures so take photos but don’t touch! Please also bear in mind that they do spray acid when disturbed and this may cause some skin irritation if you get too close.

On with the race…Get Ready, Set, GO!!

 

Sign up to receive Scottish Invertebrate News to find out about any events in your area associated with Nest Quest.

Managed to find a nest? Fill out the form below to give us your findings and submit your photo!

Enter your Nest Quest findings here

 

Thank you to:

Jenni Stockan (James Hutton Institute), Hayley Wiswell (Cairngorms National Park), Adam Hart (University of Gloucestershire), Murdo Macdonald (Highland Biological Recording Group)

Images: Gabor Pozsgai (http://www.photogabor.com/)

 

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