Ants are common almost anywhere you live, but certain species of ants are truly unique and can provide insight on a range of topics from social behaviour to traffic patterns. See below some of our wonderful ant facts:
1. Colonies are bigger than the average ant farm.
Ant colonies come in literally all shapes and sizes. A few species live in colonies of only a few dozen ants; however, the average ant colony contains thousands of individual ants. Smaller colonies live in natural crevices or openings while larger colonies create vast nests and forage for supplies and food. There are also colonies which are around the world that can contain more than 300 million individuals. These colonies have been identified in Australia, Japan, the United States, and southern Europe.
2. Ants have specific jobs.
Ants are very social insects, and they divide jobs among different types of ants in each colony. The queen or queens have only one job – and that is to lay eggs. All other female ants are workers; they feed the larvae, take out the colony’s trash, forage for food and supplies, or defend the nest. Male ants’ only job is to mate with the queen.
3. Ants don’t have ears.
Instead of hearing through auditory canals, Ants hear by vibrations which they feel from the ground. Special sensors on their feet and on their knees help ants interpret signals from their surroundings. Ants also use their antennae and the hairs on their body to feel while foraging for food.
4. Ants can become zombies.
There is a species of fungus that infects ants and often taking control of their bodies. This fungus finds its way underneath the ant’s exoskeleton and begins to consume soft tissue. Shortly after, by unknown mechanisms, it causes the ant to leave its colony. Once the ant finds a leaf, the ant will bite it with a “death grip,” and will die. After dying the ant releases the fungus so it will infect more ants. Some ant species have learned to recognize infected colony mates and will carry them far away to protect the rest of the colony.
5. They can lift 10-50 times their body weight.
Because ants are so small, their muscles are thicker relative to their body mass than in larger animals. This allows ants to carry objects much heavier and bigger than them.
6. Some are homeless.
Not all ant species of ants build nests. There is about 200 species known as army ants and they have two phases of their life: nomad and stationary. During the colony’s nomad phase, the ants travel all day and will attack other colonies and insects they encounter for food. At night, they build a temporary nest and keep moving the next morning. The only time they stop traveling is during the stationary phase when the queen lays eggs and the colony waits for them to hatch. During this time, the worker ants make a nest out of their own bodies to protect the queen, the food, and the eggs.
7. Ants are found (almost) everywhere on Earth.
Ants are found on every continent except Antarctica. A few islands such as Greenland do not have any native ant species, but individual ants have been brought in through human travel.
Although ants may have some fascinating features, ant control and management around the home are important for health and safety reasons. If you suspect an ant infestation, call us on our toll free number 1800 15 30 10 and speak to one of our friendly operators.