The hairy wood ant, as its name implies, is covered in hairs and belongs to the genus of wood ants. The workers are 4.5 to 9 mm in size and live in huge colonies with several nests that are joined together via a network of tunnels.
They colonise montane mixed forests and higher level subalpine forest types.
One of their areas of distribution is the boreal zone from the British Isles to Kamtschatka in Russia.
Wood ants are an important part of the forest ecosystem. They help to spread seeds and aerate the earth.
They also eat forest pests and are themselves a basic food resource for birds such as woodpeckers. Hairy wood ants live in a symbiotic relationship with aphids from which they gather sugar-like excretions (honeydew). In return they protect the aphids from enemies.