The Dreaded Ant

I’m not sure why I haven’t written about ants before now since I see them every day scurrying around outside and even the odd one that manages to get into the house. I dislike them so much but to be fair they are very clever.

Having had some in the house earlier this year we had to do some investigating to find out about them……..foraging ants come out in search of food and can venture up to 200 metres from the nest.  A scent trail allows them to find their way back to the nest in the dark and sun aids them during the day.

Those ants sent to look for food can identify how much food there is and how many ants are required in order to move it back to the nest.  They go back and tell the nest and then bring just the right amount of ants required to carry the food back.  Best thing to do is ensure that they don’t make it back to the nest to tell the others otherwise they may invade your house.  We have found a poison gel that we put down and the ants love it.  They gather round it and take it back to the nest and this kills all the ants in that nest.  This has really helped in keeping the ants down around the house.  We do however, still get ants in the house looking for food especially sweet things like sugar, therefore don’t leave any food stuff, crumbs etc lying around otherwise you will find the ants working to take this food to their nest.

I’ve discovered things about ants which I find to be quite amazing:-

  • Up until the year 2000 the largest colony was found of the west coast of Japan 2.7 km² and had 306 million worker ants.  In Europe a colony of Argentine ants is believed to be 6000 Km long.  The colony stretches along the Mediterranean coast.
  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world.
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
  • Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies! Normally around 12 years.
  • Ants don’t have ears. Ants “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • When ants fight, it is usually to the death!
  • When foraging, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they’ve been.
  • Queen ants have wings, which they shed when they start a new nest.
  • Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through the same holes.
  • When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce.

The video below was taken in our garden showing the ants out in search of food.  When viewing the video you will see one on the ants carrying something.

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