Lasius niger (Common Black Garden Ant)
The Common Black Garden ant, is a small, slender, dark brown/black coloured species. It's typically associated with very numerous and large colonies that are commonly found when disturbing paving slabs found in gardens or nearby parks. Hence, their name "Garden ant". This species is often found colonising both urban and rural areas, making it a very succesful critter.
In the UK particularly, these are often the first species you will see surrounding any remains of sweet, sugary foods that are left unattended or dropped on the floor. Due to their large colony size and behaviour, these are often able to recruit hundreds of workers in a matter of seconds to pin down prey or transport valuable resources to the nest.
In the wild, nests are often found amongst low lying shrubs and ground dwelling plants typically associated with urban habitats. Particularly under stones and slabs or more increasingly, in crevices, such as in exterior, south facing man-made walls.
They are a generally docile species of ant that is very suitable for beginners In terms of growth they are quite fast to develop once the colony reaches 20 workers and over. 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.