Ants survey to indicate health of woodlands

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Environmental charity Buglife has launched a campaign asking the people of Scotland to find the biggest and smallest Wood ant nests in the country.

Funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, the charity needs your help to map Scotland’s wood ant nests to better understand the state of Scottish woodlands and reinforce the need to safeguard Scotland’s natural infrastructure.

A series of events are running across Scotland to encourage people to take part. Hayley Wiswell of the Cairngorms National Park Authority is helping to run these events.

She said: “An important part of conserving species like wood ants is to raise awareness. The Cairngorms National Park Authority has organised “wood ant walks” over the last two years and these have been well attended by a wide variety of people, from rangers and foresters to people just wanting to learn more about the bizarre ant mounds they see when they walk through the woods. Nest Quest will be featuring at the Cairngorms Nature Festival on May 15, and we’ll be taking people out on a wander for wood ants to introduce people to recording them locally.”

Dr. Jenni Stockan of the James Hutton Institute says, “Wood ants are keystone species and ecosystem engineers so conserving them also helps other species and important ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling (or pest control)”

To get involved, go to