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Weekend wood ant walks

Photograph of a wood ant
Wood ants are a sign of a healthy forest though sadly many species are in decline.

The UK Wood Ants Steering Group is inviting the public to attend a wood ant walk on Saturday 30 June or Sunday 1 July as part of the National Insect Week celebrations.

The wood ant walks will take place at Mar Lodge, Bennachie, Glenmore Forest and Aberfoyle and will be led by a local expert. There will be an opportunity to see Wood ants and their nests. The walks are suitable for all the family.

Wood ants are fascinating creatures with a reddish thorax, dark head and abdomen. Ants are the biggest predator in Britain’s forest and provide food for some of our most iconic animals including the Capercaille and Badger. They act as natures’ cleaners, removing lice and ticks from other animals and their abandoned nests provide nutrients for vegetation.

Craig Macadam, Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, Scotland Director said “There are five wood ant species in the UK and the endangered Narrow-headed ant is found exclusively in the Scottish highlands and on one site in Devon. The Narrow-headed ant has declined due to the loss of lowland heath in England and by habitat loss, break up and disturbance by people”.

Jenni Stockan, an insect ecologist at the James Hutton Institute said “Ants are often overlooked, or thought of as a nuisance. Wood ants are a sign of a healthy forest though sadly many species are in decline. We want to use these ‘Weekend Wood ant walks’ to dispel the myths and demonstrate why we need these insects”.

Places on the weekend wood ant walks are limited. Booking is essential. Please visit the Wood Ants website to reserve your place.

Notes to editors

UK Wood Ants Steering Group
The UK Wood Ants National Steering Group (NSG) was established in the early 2000s to advise and drive the biodiversity action plans (BAP) for Formica exsecta and then, Formica aquilonia and Formica lugubris. The ongoing purpose of the group is to bridge gaps between science and policy/practice in order to secure the future of wood ants in the UK. Today, we are not just concerned with BAP species, but with all wood-dwelling ants, associated species and their habitats. www.woodants.org.uk

National Insect Week 2012 is now running, from 25 June to 1 July. National Insect Week is designed to show your more about the insect world in all its fascinating diversity. Use the National Insect Week website to find amazing insect facts, find out about events near you and about entering our popular photography competition. Also, don't miss the NIW Blog! National Insect Week is organised by the Royal Entomological Society and is supported by a large number of partner organisations concerned with many aspects of insect science, natural history and biodiversity.

Buglife The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is the only charity in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and is actively working to save Britain's rarest bugs, bees, butterflies, ants, worms, beetles and many more fascinating invertebrates. Further information is available on Buglife’s website.

The James Hutton Institute
The James Hutton Institute was formed in 2011 by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen and SCRI, the Scottish Crop Research Institute based in Invergowrie near Dundee, Scotland. The Institute encompasses a distinctive range of integrated, world-class strengths in land, crop, water, environmental and socio-economic science. It undertakes a wide range of research for customers including the Scottish and UK Governments, the EU and other organisations worldwide. The Institute has a staff of nearly 600 and 125 PhD students.

Scottish Wildlife Trust
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been championing nature conservation for almost 50 years. From maintaining a network of over 120 reserves to campaigning at a local and national level for greater protection for wildlife. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has over 30,000 members throughout the country, and aims to protect Scotland's wildlife for the benefit of present and future generations.

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Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/weekend-wood-ant-walks on 25/02/24 02:54:32 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.