Work to reintroduce the impressive Southern Wood Ant (Formica rufa) to Hertfordshire has resumed this spring at Bishop's Wood near Rickmansworth.
Until the reintroduction programme started in 2019, the species had not been recorded in the county since the 1950s. Nests have been relocated from Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire (where the species is plentiful) through a partnership between Three Rivers Council, Hertfordshire County Council's Countryside Management Service and Phil Attewell, county ant recorder and last year's winner of the HNHS 1875 Award for an outstanding Hertfordshire naturalist.
The rufous-brown Southern Wood Ant is Britain's largest ant species whose workers are around 10mm long and queens 12mm. The ants build large, distinctively domed nests in woodland glades and are noted for the ability to spray pungent formic acid at intruders. Hertfordshire County Council has published an article about the reintroduction scheme.
Photo shows Herts ant recorder Phil Attewell at one of the reintroduction sites