Hiking on a long wooded trail the other day, we came upon a site that immediately brought to mind the Egyptian pyramids. But we weren’t in Egypt. We were in Rhode Island.
These mounds are created by Formica exsectoides, commonly known as Allegheny Mound Ants. I’ve seen these mounds before, but they were smaller and not as pointy. And there were just a couple. Along this sandy road, there were scores of them. When you looked closer, you could see the ants swarming on the mounds. You can’t get too close, though, because they will attack you if they feel threatened.
These ants live from Maritime Canada all the way down to Georgia. The formic acid they secrete kills most nearby vegetation, and the mounds, which in this case were up to three feet tall, capture solar energy to create a nice warm environment for the colony inside.
Here’s a shot of a single mound.
You never know what you’ll find in the woods, I tell ya.