Yellow Meadow Ant

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The Yellow Meadow Ant creates large anthills in grassland.  

The large ones in this churchyard could be very old.  Small anthills can appear in lawns if the grass is not cut too often, but large ones can be destroyed by lawnmowers and other machinery. They build a soil dome above the nest (which can extend a metre below the ground) to control the temperature and humidity. Like all ants, the Yellow Meadow Ant is social and forms colonies. The worker ants live mainly underground and not often seen unless the nest is disturbed. During hot, humid weather in summer, there are mass emergences of winged ants, which mate and fly away to form new colonies.

Anthills create many micro-habitats, each with small differences in nutrients, temperature, humidity, drainage and sunlight. This allows a range of grasses, flowers and mini-beasts to thrive.  A well-known ecologist once said that “ants drive ecosystems” – they are vital for life on Earth!