1. Wildlife photographer Paul Quagliana captured the colony firing the acid into the air in Wareham Forest, Dorset.
Quagliana tapped the ants’ nest to provoke the reaction.
“There are many different species of woodland ants in Britain and these are called Formica rufa,” he explained.
2. “As a defence mechanism they squirt formic acid which smells a bit like salt and vinegar crisps or fish and chips.
“If you put your hand an inch or two away from the nest they will squirt the acid to try and drive anything away.
3. “It doesn’t hurt but it stinks and I imagine if it was to get in your eyes it would probably sting.”
While harmless to humans the formic acid is enough to scare off potential predators such as woodpeckers and jays.