The Yellow Meadows 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 - that helps to 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.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Although the Yellow Meadow Ant is common, it has a very distinctive relationship with the declining Chalkhill Blue Butterfly. Attracted by substances that the caterpillar secretes, the workers bury the larvae of the Chalkhill Blue, unintentionally protecting it from predators. This inter-species relationship, and others like it, demonstrates the intricacies of habitats and ecosystems - The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, to stockwatching to surveying.