Ants are fascinating little creatures. We don’t see them that way when they are invading our cupboards or cruising down our kitchen counters. No matter where you move to, you most likely will never get away from ants. They inhabit every part of the world, except in cold places such as Antarctica.
Ant colonies work together to provide for those ants living there. Within the colony, every ant has a specific role and is expected to perform precise tasks. After forming their social colony, you will find the queen, workers, scouts, and other defined roles for the different ants in the colony. In a colony, you will find one or more queen ants. They have only one job, and that is to lay eggs. All of the female ants are workers. They feed the larvae, take out the trash in the colony, scout for food and supplies while also defending the nest. Male ants have only one job, and that is to mate with the queen. Amazingly, during the beginning stages of creating a new nest, some ants can have wings and fly while they set out to find a new place to create a colony.
Ants Work Together
It is known that ants share a “hive mind.” What this means is that the ants “think” almost in unison with each other. They work together for the colony, particularly in protecting it while also feeding the young and scouting for food. Some species of ants can work together to solve complex problems while finding solutions to the issues. Ant colonies vary in shapes and sizes. Some house only a few dozen ants. The average colony contains thousands of individual ants. There are “super colonies” that can house 300 million individual ants.
The Appearance Of The Ant
Each ant has a bent antennae. They have six distinguishable legs. They also have a head, waist area, and the abdomen. The queen ant might be larger than the worker ants. An exception to this is the carpenter ant. The queen is not much larger than the other ants. Usually, the queen has the wings. These are shed once a place is found to build the nest. The queen tends to have a much thicker and larger thorax. Usually, you will find the queen at the center of the nest. The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The queen engages in an initial “nuptial flight” with several males. The males lay down sperm cells, which the queen harvests and keeps with her. Once established in the colony she begins to lay eggs regularly. The other ants tend to her by providing her with food and removing waste. The worker ants communicate the needs of the colony to the queen. The eggs that have been fertilized will become female worker ants. The unfertilized eggs become males. Males mate with the queen, and the queen lays the eggs within a special chamber located inside the ant nest. The queen can lay thousands of eggs over time.
Different species communicate in different ways. Most ants communicate via chemicals. They secrete pheromones, which they can sense using sense organs on their bodies. Scouting ants can lay down a chemical trail leading to food sources they discover. This will lead the other workers to the food source, which they will take and return to the colony. If there is a threat to the colony, ants can release a distress chemical, which will result in the nest swarming to attack the threat. Ants can also communicate using touch with one another. This sends signals and communicates information. Different species use different methods of communication. This is based on the situation and what the colony is experiencing at the time. Since ants do not have ears, they often hear by feeling vibrations in the ground. They are equipped with special sensors. The sensors are on their feet and knees. They help ants to interpret signals from their surroundings. They also use their antennae and the hairs on their body to feel around while looking for food.
Ants Are Extremely Strong
Ants muscles are thicker relative to their body mass than in larger animals. This enables them to carry objects much heavier and larger than themselves. An example, if a human could lift ten times their weight, then a 200-pound man could lift a small car above his head. In comparison, this is the capability of an ant.
Ants are creative, hard-working insects; however, the next time you find a group of them searching your cupboards, you might not find them so pleasing.