Discover ants with a wildlife nest quest during lockdown

Friday 22nd May 2020

Buglife is inviting people to take part in a unique wildlife quest during their daily exercise outdoors. If you happen to see a wood ant nest during your walk, run or cycle, you can now take part in Nest Quest, a new public participation survey to find out more about our amazing ants.

Buglife is keen to learn about wood ant nest locations, distributions and densities across the country, but particularly in Devon. And they need your help to do this.  By joining in Nest Quest, you can learn more about the fascinating lives of ants and have fun along the way. Connection with nature and natural places can also help support mental and physical wellbeing, with added significance in this time of social distancing and isolation at home.

Project Officer Stephen Carroll explained “wood ants are about the least socially distanced of our insects, with tens of thousands of individuals living in incredible nest cities built up into pyramid-like mounds of pine needles and other materials. As well as ant societies, these structures host and support hundreds of other types of wildlife, in fact wood ant colonies can play a key role in maintaining and influencing surrounding habits”.

No special skills or journeys are needed, the Nest Quest survey can be carried out easily while walking the dog or during outdoor exercise. Just keep a look out for the distinctive wood ant nests, especially if in woodland or moorland edge, and submit records by smartphone or by computer when back at home. Oh, and don’t forget to take a photo – you could even take an ant nest selfie!  To find out more, or to begin the quest, go to and head to the Nest Quest page.

Nest Quest is part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Back from Brink species recovery project for the rare Narrow-headed ant (Formica exsecta), a species which has dwindled to one remaining population in the whole of England, due to habitat loss and fragmentation.