Why Ants?

The following information is summarised from a publication on ants by the Bavarian State Office for Environment (Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt) which you can download in German here: https://www.lfu.bayern.de/buerger/doc/uw_5_ameisen.pdf

  • Ants are insects and form large colonies with a strict division of labour.
  • The queens are solely responsible for the production of offspring.
  • The workers build the nest, care for progeny and queen, forage for food and defend the colony.
  • Males are produced in the summer months for only one purpose: They mate with potential queens. The males die after the nuptial flight.
  • Most ants build their nests in the ground or at the soil surface. Any changes in nature that influence conditions close to the ground can endanger our native ant species, for example reafforestation, giving up grazing and intensification of use.
  • In Bavaria, there are 87 known ant species that occur outdoors. 59 of these are already on the „Red List of Endangered Ants in Bavaria“.
  • Ants fulfill important functions in the ecosystem. They are nature’s „cleaning squad“ and quickly remove carrion and dead insects.
  • In building their nests they introduce large amounts of biomass into the soil. All in all, they turn over more soil matter than earthworms.
  • As predators they reduce the populations of many spider and insect species, some of which are irksome to humans.
  • As shepherds they nourish and protect aphids and barklice. The sweet excretions from these species – honeydew – is beloved by ants and bees use it to produce forest honey.

And finally, as gatherers they ensure the propagation of many wildflowers such as liverworts, which are quite common with us.

How to proceed:

  • Stay on the hiking trails and report ant nests that you can see from the trail.
  • Please do not cut across country in your search.
  • Do not modify or destroy the ant nests, do not place or stick objects on or into them.

1. Determine location

Here you can zoom into the map and pinpoint the location of the ant nest you discovered.

2. Fill in form

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