Ants are interesting subjects for studies of evolution of altruism. We developed 13 microsatellite loci in a red wood ant Formica (s. str.) yessensis from random amplified polymorphic DNA fragments to study genetic structure within populations and colonies. Five loci bore two to five alleles in both F. (s. str.) yessensis and F. (s. str.) truncorum and two were also polymorphic in a related species, Polyergus samurai. Results suggest that the loci will be useful in evolutionary studies on Formica and Polyergus species.