Red ant

Red ant by Billy Clapham, The Wildlife Trusts

Red ant by Billy Clapham

Red ant

Scientific name: Myrmica rubra
Turn over large stones or paving slabs in the garden and you are likely to find a Red ant colony. This medium-sized ant can deliver a painful sting, so be careful! In summer, winged adults swarm and mate.

Species information


Length: 4-6mm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The Red ant is commonly found under stones and logs in the garden, and also in soil and lawns. It is active throughout the year, but winged adults swarm in late summer during hot and humid weather; these 'flying ants' mate and eventually disperse to form new colonies.

How to identify

Living up to its name, the Red ant has a reddish-brown body and a darker head. It is a medium-sized ant.



Did you know?

Red ant workers have a surprisingly painful sting and will attack if disturbed.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.