Hairy Wood Ants: Identification, Diet, Bites, habitat & Control

Hairy Wood Ants

Are you on guard against the unnoticed attack from the Hairy Wood Ants on our pristine green expanses? Picture a serene meadow abruptly disrupted by an influx of Hairy Wood Ants. Despite their modest size, these ants bring a substantial threat to our environmental havens. Their robust and adaptable traits scream for quick focus and response. 

Seamlessly fitting into various spaces like forests and gardens, it’s imperative to decipher their tendencies and the potential harm they bring forth.

Could they be concealed nearby? Ousting native ant species, they mar our flourishing vegetation, casting turmoil across ecosystems. Their relentless hunger for diverse native life further erodes our ecosystem balance. The saga doesn’t conclude here.

Are your personal spaces safeguarded? Beyond environmental ruin, these ants permeate human habitats, inducing anxiety with their potent bites. Highlighting these facts underlines the urgent requirement for capable strategies to preserve our invaluable green expanses from the Hairy Wood Ants’ onslaught. It’s the moment to respond; are you primed to confront this threat?

What do Hairy Wood  Ants Ants look like?

Enter the enthralling world of Hairy Wood Ants, marveling at their distinctive appearance, marked by a unique, grayish hair covering. Experience their world where every feature and role adds to the harmony and survival of their colonies.

  • Color:

Embark on a visual exploration, observing the earthy tones that cloak the Hairy Wood Ants, a seamless camouflage amidst their woodland abode.

  • Body:

Delight in the tactile allure of these ants, whose bodies boast a blanket of short, grayish hairs, imparting a unique, warm, and fuzzy charm to their presence.

  • Size:

Navigate further to uncover the modest stature of worker ants, measuring a notable 4.5 to 9 mm, a dimension contributing to their discrete existence within the sprawling colonies.

  • Special Feature:

Be captivated by the distinctive grayish hairs that grace their thorax and abdomen, a signature trait that crowns them as the Hairy Wood Ants.

What Do Hairy Wood Ants Ants Eat?

Step into the intricate world of ants, where even the smallest creature has a gourmet palate. Ever wondered what keeps Hairy Wood Ants busy and well-fed?

  • Aphid Honeydew: These ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids. Aphids feed on plant sap and produce a sugary waste called honeydew. These ants protect these aphids from predators, and in return, they consume the honeydew that the aphids produce.
  • Insects and Small Invertebrates: They are also predators. They’ll hunt and consume various small creatures, including insects, larvae, and other invertebrates that come into their territory.
  • Plant Matter: Occasionally, these ants might feed on plant-based materials, especially when other food sources are scarce.
  • Scavenging: While not a primary food source, hairy wood ants can be opportunistic and might scavenge dead insects or organic material if they come across it.

This combination of hunting, farming aphids, and occasional scavenging ensures the hairy wood ant colony gets a balanced diet.

Habitat of Hairy Wood Ants

Hairy Wood Ants

Hairy Wood Ants predominantly dwell in woodland habitats. 

Here’s a breakdown of their living conditions:

  • Woodlands: Hairy Wood Ants typically inhabit woodlands, particularly in older, mature forests where they establish their colonies.
  • Anthills: They are famous for building large mounds, primarily from pine needles, twigs, and other forest debris. These mounds, substantial in size, often face south to maximize sunlight exposure, which regulates their internal temperature.
  • Northern Regions: They prefer northern temperate zones. For instance, in the British Isles, you can commonly find them in Scottish woodlands, while in continental Europe, they thrive in boreal forests.
  • Protection of Territories: Hairy Wood Ant colonies vigorously defend their territory from intruders. With vast colonies, their aggressive defense strategies guarantee their dominance in their selected habitats.

Do Hairy Wood  Ant Bites?

Yes, Hairy Wood Ants do bite, but that’s not the end of their defensive arsenal.

Defense Mechanisms of Hairy Wood Ants:

  • Bite: They use their strong mandibles to grasp or bite any perceived threat. This bite in itself can be painful, especially given the ant’s size.
  • Formic Acid Spray: Along with biting, these ants have a unique method of defense. They can spray formic acid from the tip of their abdomen. When they bite, they often use their abdomen to position and spray this acid into the wound, which intensifies the pain and can cause a burning sensation.
  • Aggressive Defense: If their nest or territory is threatened, These Ants can become quite aggressive. They’ll rush out in large numbers to fend off intruders, employing their biting and spraying tactics in tandem.

How to Get Rid Of Hairy Wood Ants?

Managing a Hairy Wood Ant infestation requires a balanced approach, as these ants play a crucial role in certain ecosystems. They are not typically pests in households, but they can become a nuisance if their habitats intersect with human domains. 

Here are some steps to manage or get rid of Hairy Wood Ants:

Managing Hairy Wood Ant Infestations:

  • Identify the Nest: The first step is to locate their mounds or anthills. These can often be large and quite evident in gardens or wooded areas near homes.
  • Natural Repellents: Consider using diatomaceous earth around the areas where ants enter your home. This is a natural insect killer and can deter ants from crossing its path.
  • Barrier Sprays: There are non-toxic sprays available that can create a barrier. Spraying them around the foundation of your house can deter ants from coming inside.
  • Limit Food Sources: Ensure no food is left out, and any food sources are properly sealed. This includes pet food, which should not be left out for long periods.
  • Seal Entry Points: Check for cracks, gaps, or holes in your home’s foundation or walls. Seal these areas to prevent ants from entering.
  • Keep Surroundings Clean: Regularly clean outdoor areas, ensuring there’s no leftover food or sweet substances that might attract ants.
  • Consult a Pest Professional: If the infestation is severe or if you are concerned about the impact on local ecosystems, consult with a pest control professional who can provide guidance on environmentally friendly ways to manage the infestation.


In conclusion, the Hairy Wood Ants, while intriguing and vital to their ecosystems, can become unwelcome guests in our personal spaces. Recognizing their unique features, understanding their diet, and acknowledging their aggressive defense mechanisms empower us to coexist and manage potential infestations.

Equipped with this knowledge, and with effective, environmentally-conscious strategies at hand, we can ensure both our green expanses and homes remain protected. Let’s act responsibly, ensuring a harmonious balance between human needs and nature’s wonders.