10 Lesser Known Facts about Ants
Think you know all there is to know about ants? Ants aren’t just tiny bugs that gatecrash picnics and steal remnants of food from the lawn and we are here to tell you some lesser known facts about the strong creatures.
1. Ants are global!
Ants have conquered the world and live almost everywhere on the planet. The only places that aren’t inhabited by a species of ant are Greenland, Antarctica and Iceland – and a few small islands. With this in mind, there are more than 12 000 species of ants and there are estimated to be between 1 and 10 quadrillion in the world. For perspective, that’s one million ants per every human.
2. Ants have no ears!
Ants may not have ears but they are able to hear through their legs (technically). You see, ants don’t have regular auditory passageways; instead, they have sensors that are known as subgenual organs. These organs are located in their knees and feet and allow them to pick up vibrations and identify possible danger.
3. Ants are Strong!
Although small in stature, ants can carry 10 to 50 times more than their weight. So, how is this possible? The tiny creatures get their strength from the cross-sectional area of their muscles which are actually much greater than larger animals. Essentially, their bodies are mostly muscle!
4. Ants remove the trash!
Ants are one of the most organized species of insects – if not, the most organized. They like to keep their colonies clean and in order to do this, they need to dispose of their waste. As humans use garbage bins and dumpsters, ants have a midden. This is a waste pile that is located outside of the nest and worker ants are the ones stuck with taking out the trash.
5. Ants don’t have lungs!
Ants have tiny bodies and they don’t have space for lungs! In order to breathe, they have a system of small holes and tubes that circulate oxygen to their bodies. Oxygen enters their bodies through tiny holes known as spiracles and they are connected to tubes that circulate the oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide. And the more ants move – the better they breathe.
6. Ants Retrieve their Dead
Ants place their fallen family in middens which also double as cemeteries. The reason they do this is to protect their colonies from possible infection or disease. So, how do ants locate their dead? After about 2 days of decomposition, ants release a chemical called oleic acid and the worker ants are able to locate the bodies due to the smell.
7. Ants are Little Farmers
Ants are the only species other than humans that farm other animals. Ants farm aphids in order to keep a supply of honeydew and they protect aphids from other predators and give them shelter. They also herd aphids to the best areas on a plant in order to get the best sap. This sounds cute and innocent but ants will actually go to great lengths to keep aphids from flying away 0 including clipping their wings!
8. Ants have a Hierarchy
Ants separate their colonies into three sects – queens, workers and makes. Every colony has at least one queen while some have more than one – depending on the species of ant. Queens are the largest in the colony and have wings, which are removed shortly after mating. Worker ants are wingless females who don’t reproduce – only the queen does this. Male ants have wings and are much smaller than the queen. Each sect or caste has a job to do and the males mate with the queen but die soon after the queen lays eggs. The worker ants do just about everything else, from bringing food and disposing of waste.
9. Ants have Slaves!
Certain species of ants actually take slaves and they all have a different way of acquiring them. They usually use on of two methods when capturing slaves. Some ants will raid a different colony and steal their eggs, and they will hatch the eggs to bread slaves that will perform the duties of worker ants. Other ant species will simply replace the queen of a colony with one of their own and take full control of the rest of the colony – turning them all into slaves.
10. Ants Swim
Many people will try to flood anthills to get rid of an infestation but many species of ants can actually swim. They are able to float on the water surface for a long period of time while fire ants are able to actually link together and create a raft! Some ants are also able to hold their breath if needed and they can stay underwater for up to 2 weeks!
Ants may be small in size, but they are strong and efficient creatures. If you are struggling with an ant infestation or need any information about the little pests, contact the Twin-Boro Termite and Pest Control team today.