Small Black Ant - Lasius niger


Worker length: 3.4 - 5 mm, male length: 3.5 - 4.7 mm, queen length: 8 - 9 mm. Workers (non-reproductive females) are blackish-brown in colour and covered in small hairs. Winged reproductive females (queens) are almost twice as big as the workers, are darker in colour and have a large pair of clear wings, which are shed after mating. Males also possess wings and are much smaller than queens.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required and the specimen should be examined with a microscope. In the comments box, state the key or ID method used and describe the size and identifying characters.


Varied habitats, including gardens, paved areas etc.

When to see it

Winged reproductive males and females engage in a mass mating flight in hot, humid weather during July and August.

Life History

This ant often builds its nest in soil, in tree stumps or under stones or logs, and it frequently nests beneath paving stones in gardens. The larvae are legless grubs, and the pupae are protected inside a white silk cocoon.

UK Status

This is the commonest ant seen in Britain and is widespread throughout.

VC55 Status

Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map