Lasius flavus (Yellow Meadow Ant)
The Yellow Meadow ant, is a small, slender, yellow/orange coloured species. It's typically associated with very numerous and large colonies. Many mature colonies are normally easily found due to the mound - like nest structure they create whilst turning over soil. These nests often reach 1-3 metres in width! Whilst Lasius flavus can be often found in both urban and rural areas, large numbers of them are often found most succesfully in acid land which is typically associated with heath/grassland surrounding forests.
In the UK particularly, these are one of the most abundant species following Myrmica rubra and Lasius niger.
In the wild, nests are often found amongst grass or udner decaying wood. Interestingly, this is a species which predominantly, carries its daily tasks underground. Instead of foraging above on the surface, workers tend to focus inside the mounds they create as a special interaction lies deep underground whereby a 'forest' of roots await.
Here, these ants have a mutualistic relationship whereby they 'farm' root aphids as these can produce sugar in the form of honeydew and essential proteins too! In return, they are protected from abiotic and biotic factors of nature such as predators or lack of water/nutrients. Yes, essentially these are treated like a stock of cattle!
They are a very docile species of ant that is very suitable for beginners In terms of growth they are rather slow to develop. If you don't have too much space, this may be an interesting point for you!
In the ant keeping hobby, these are one of the most common starter species as they are relatively small, active and harmless. Due to the nature of their natural environment, these ants are mainly active throughout the year but would benefit from a short period of hibernation from December - March.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.