Allegheny Mound Ant
The Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides) is quite common as it is native to our area and all of the Atlantic area of North America. Its range extends from Nova Scotia to parts of Georgia. Its appearance is very striking: both its head and thorax are red-orange, whereas its abdomen is black-brown. It builds large mounds, and sometimes their mounds will even be interconnected. The tunnels may extend 3 feet into the ground and 4 feet upwards in the mound itself. The mound serves as a solar incubator for the eggs and larvae. The ants are very aggressive and will bite hard when disturbed, but, because they are voracious predators (hunting a wide assortment of arthropods for food), they are often regarded as beneficial insects, especially by Maine’s lowbush blueberry industry (these ants and their mounds are very common on blueberry barrens in our part of the hemisphere).
Additional Information: Allegheny Mound Ant (UMaine Extension: Wild Blueberry Fact Sheet — Beneficial Insects series)