When you think of fascinating creatures, I bet the last animal that comes to mind is an ant. Most of these tiny little insects are no more than the size of a pencil eraser and are annoying, creepy, as well as gross when seen scurrying across your kitchen floor with a piece of food. The truth is, however, these little bugs are quite fascinating. If you’ve ever watched movies about the ancient Roman Empire, looking into the lives of ants is quite similar. With queen ants, worker ants, and slave ants, these social little buggers have their roles to play within our ecosystem. We bet you’ll be surprised at all of the things you didn’t know about these disgusting yet incredibly unique creatures.
Life Stages of An Ant
An ant is classified as a terrestrial anthropoid. They shed their exoskeletons to grow a new one, a process called molting, the same thing the caterpillar does to change into a butterfly. Ants undergo metamorphosis in four stages. They start as eggs, then hatch into worm-shaped larva. They grow very fast, and when old enough, change again into a pupa. During this stage, they rest and reorganize. In the last stage they emerge as an adult in which like humans, they are fully grown. The entire process can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months.
Different Species of Ants
Did you know there are between 12,000 and 22,000 species of ants worldwide? One colony of ants can house up to 250,000 members. Some of the most common types of ants that live here in the United States are:
- Carpenter ants
- Odorous house ants
- Pavement ants
- Red imported fire ants
- Argentine ant
- Sugar ant
- Pharaoh’s ant
- Thief ant
- Harvester ant
- Blackhouse ant
Ants Are Stronger Than They Look
Ladies, if you’re looking for a strong man, date an ant. Many of us have seen firsthand ants maneuvering across our floor carrying a crumb twice their size. This is because ants can carry approximately 5,000 times their own body weight. And, they can run at around 300 meters an hour, a rate of nearly 800 times their body length per minute. That’s quite impressive.
The Ant Colony is A Human Version of Game of Thrones
Ants live in colonies that consist of millions of ants. This is why when you step upon an ant hill, you often see so many. There are three kinds of ants in the colony, and each has its role: the queen, the female workers, and the males. There is no electoral process or voting in a candidate. The queen is typically chosen simply by her appearance when she is born, and she is the only ant who can reproduce and lay eggs. Depending on the colony, it may have one or many queens.
The male ant’s job is solely to mate with those ants deemed worthy enough to be a queen. Shortly after mating, the male dies. Once a queen becomes an adult, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs. Sound a little boring? Perhaps the life of a soldier ant is a bit more exciting. These ants are put in charge of protecting the queen, defending the colony, and gathering and killing food. They are also in charge of attacking enemy colonies in search of food and nesting space. This is probably the most crucial role after the queen(s) because if the queen dies, no one else can reproduce, and the colony will not survive. If a colony is defeated, the winners take away the eggs of the conquered territory. Once these eggs are hatched, they become slaves to the new colony. Now, does it remind you of a movie about the old Roman Empire?
Other jobs of colony ants include taking care of the eggs and larva, gathering food, and building more anthills. Of course, these are all females. Just when you thought your life was bad, think of the ant who has been made a slave.
Ants Advanced Communication System
Ants do not have ears. They communicate with one another through touch, body language, pheromones, or chemical signals picked up by the ant’s antennae. They can talk to other ants simply by lightly touching or stroking the receiver in different ways. They also use the power of scent to lay out trails of food sources such as crumbs left in your kitchen for other workers to find and follow. When workers have found a food source, they will run back to the colony, sprinkle small drops of pheromones on the ground, and other worker ants will follow. They may also move their body in a specific manner or touch the other’s antennas. This advanced system of communication without the use of actual language continues to fascinate entomologists throughout the world.
Queen Ants and Male Ants Have Wings and Can Fly
Queen ants have larger abdomens than their counterparts which have wings built into them. During her time of mating, she uses the wings to fly to various nests with males so they can mate. After mating, the queen finds a nest to burrow in. At this point, she removes her wings and uses them as her main food source while she lays her eggs. Yes, she eats her wings. The unfortunate male dies shortly after mating.
Protect Your Home From Ants With Perimeter Pest Control by the Professionals at Turf Pro Plus
The life of an ant is not so dull after all. Still, none of us want them in our homes. While they are interesting, they are still dirty, crawly insects that belong outside. If your home isn’t properly protected, it is probably inviting ants to move in. You need perimeter pest control to help protect your home, family, and pets from ants and other pests. The professionals at Turf Pro Plus have your solution. Our perimeter pest control creates a liquid barrier around your house that will stop ants and other creepy, crawly bugs such as spiders, centipedes, earwigs, cockroaches, and others before they can get in. Contact us today and find out more. You can reach us at 513-545-6295 or by filling out our online form here.