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Common Black Ant, Garden Ant (Lasius niger)
Common Ant Habitat
Temperate species living in soil or in association with dwellings. Common ants form nests in gardens, under paving stones, in foundations or occasionally within buildings. One queen per nest. Garden ant workers are very active foraging on wide range of foods including sweet substances, seeds, insects and aphid secrations 'honey dew'. Nests may survive for many years but young queens leaving the nest as 'flying ants' start new ones each year.
Common Ant Biology
Egg - larva - pupa - adult
Eggs are laid by queen
Larvae - legless grubs fed by ant workers, fully grown in about 3 weeks.
Pupae - known (incorrectly) as 'ants eggs', develop in 2 weeks, guarded by workers.
Adults - workers are brown/black, 3 - 5 milimeters long. Common ant queens are winged at first, twelve milimeters long, live for several years.
Common Ant Importance
Foraging ant workers are a nuisance but normally not a health risk. They guard aphids that damage garden plants. Sexual forms, 'flying ants', may emerge in large numbers close to or inside houses.