10 Interesting Facts About Ants, Western Exterminator

10 Interesting Facts About Ants


Ants, they are one of the most common pests encountered in homes and businesses. There are more than 10,000 known ant species found across the globe, and are a subject of constant study by entomologists and scientists. Ants are truly fascinating creatures. Don’t believe us? Here are 10 facts about ants that will definitely change your mind!

1. Ants have superhuman strength!

Yes, you did read that correctly. Ants are ridiculously strong. They have the ability to carry between 10 and 50 times their own body weight! The amount an ant can carry depends on the species. The Asian weaver ant, for example, can lift 100 times its own mass.

Why are ants strong?
This amazing strength is a result of their small size, believe it or not. The Arizona State University reports that because of their small size, ants’ muscles have a greater cross-sectional area relative to their body size compared to larger animals. This means they can produce more force.

2. Ants don’t have lungs

Due to their small size, ants don’t have the room to accommodate a complex respiratory system such as ours. Instead, they have their own ways of respiration to help transport oxygen around their bodies.

How do ants breathe?
Ants breathe in oxygen through spiracles which are a series of holes located on the sides of their bodies. The spiracles are connected through a network of tubes which help distribute the oxygen to almost every cell in their body.

An ant’s movement helps the oxygen to circulate through the tubes, with the released carbon dioxide exiting through said tubes as well.

3. Ants don’t have ears

Unlike other pests such as rats, ants don’t have ears. But that doesn’t mean they are deaf.

How do ants hear?
Ants use vibrations to hear, using them when foraging for food or as an alarm signal. Ants use the vibrations in the ground to hear by picking them up in the subgenual organ which is located below the knee.

4. There are a lot of ants in the world

The phrase “a lot” is an understatement when describing the amount of ants currently in existence. To put things in perspective, it is estimated that there are around 1 million ants for every 1 human in the world!

Ants have pretty much conquered the entire globe. With the exception of Antarctica, the Arctic, and a handful of islands, there is at least one native species of ant found on every continent. Entomologist Ted Schultz says that ant presence across the world is “arguably the greatest success story in the history of terrestrial metazoa.“

5. Some ant species are asexual

Rather than going down the traditional route of reproduction, some Amazonian ants have taken to reproduce via cloning. It is reported that the queen ants copy themselves to genetically produce daughters, resulting in a colony with no male ants.

6. Ants are farmers

You may be thinking “what?!” But it’s true, besides humans, ants are the only creatures that will farm other creatures.

Just like we raise cows, sheep, pigs, chicken, and fish in order to obtain a food source, ants will do the same with other insects. The most common occurrence of this is with aphids. Ants will protect aphids from natural predators, and shelter them in their nests from heavy rain showers in order to gain a constant supply of honeydew.

7. Ants have two stomachs

That’s right, ants have two stomachs, and it’s not because they are greedy. One of their stomachs is for holding food for their own consumption, and the second one is to hold food to be shared with other ants.

This process is known as trophallaxis and allows an ant colony to work extremely efficiently. It allows for the ants who forage for food to feed those which stay behind and tend to the duties of the queen and the nest.

8. Ants can swim

Well, not all ants can swim, it depends on the species. They haven’t mastered the butterfly or breaststroke, yet, but they do have the ability to survive in water by using their own version of the doggy paddle, and can also float for long periods of time.

To put it simply, ants are amazing survivors. Not only can they hold their breath underwater for long periods of time, but they will also build lifeboats to survive floods. It can be especially dangerous when fire ants do this.

9. Ants are slave-makers

This may sound strange but hear us out. Some species of ant, such as the Polyergus lucidus are known as slave-making ants. They invade neighboring ant colonies, capturing its inhabitants and forcing them to work for them. This process is known as ‘slave raiding’.

Slave-making ants are specialized to parasite a single species or a group of related species which are often close relatives to them. The captured ants will work as if they were in their own colony, while the slave-making workers will only concentrate on replenishing their labor force.

Slave-making ants come in two formats: permanent social parasites and facultative slave-makers. Permanent social parasites rely on the enslaved ants throughout their lives whilst facultative slave-makers do not.

10. Ants are as old as dinosaurs

A study from Harvard and Florida State Universities discovered that ants first rose during the Cretaceous period around 130 million years ago! They have survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T extinction) that killed the dinosaurs as well as the ice age.

See also:  Aphids - Everything you need to know, CANNA UK

For expert advice and solutions on how to control ants, get in contact with Western Exterminator today.


10 Crazy Facts About Ants

/ FromQuarkstoQuasars

Ants are pretty spectacular critters. They may be rather small, but that doesn’t mean that they are boring. Here, we’ve complied some of the most interesting facts about ants…

Ant and water drop. Image via Rakesh Rocky

10. Ants are as old as dinosaurs:

Archaeologists estimate that Homo sapiens (modern humans) have been on the Earth for some 200,000 years. That’s just a fraction of the age of the Earth, which is some 4.54 billion years old. The first humans evolved (“Homo“) from australopithecine ancestors about 2 million years ago. This time frame makes ants far, far older than humanity. Scientists estimate that ants came about in the mid-Cretaceous period, which was an amazing 110 to 130 million years ago. Accordingly, humans are the babies on planet Earth.

9. Like Humans, ants have conquered the globe:

Ants are quite the travelers. They are found nearly everywhere on Earth, with the exception of Antarctica and the Arctic (there are also a few islands that seem to be free of ants). There is one species of ant, the Argentine ant, known as Linepithema humilespecies, that has invaded 6 continents. Within the last century, these little critters have established themselves in at least 15 countries throughout the world, and they don’t seem to be stopping their conquest. The hives are literally swarming across the planet.

Argentinian ant distribution. Image via calacademy.org

8. The largest known ant species was 2.4 inches long:

The largest ant ever discovered is (fortunately) not alive today. Rather, it is a fossilized specimen that belongs to Titanomyrma giganteum, and it was truly a beast of an ant. have you ever accidentally walked through an ant colony and looked down to find a plethora of ants stalking about on your foot? Well, imagine having a bunch of superlarge, mutant ants walking up your leg!

Okay, so the ants in the fossil weren’t mutants, but they kind of looked a bit like it. This fossil reveals that T. giganteum was about 2.4 inches (6 cm) long, and it seems that it had a wingspan of nearly six inches(!). For comparison, the average size of the current ant species is a mere .08 to 1 inches (.2 to 2.5 cm).

7. Ants have a freaky kind of hive mind:

Ants can come together to form an enormous, coordinated “superorganism.” Just as humans are able to function because of all of the various organs that comprise our bodies, so do individual ants function as parts of a larger organism. There are a number of individual parts (ants) that fit together to cooperate and accomplish amazing feats. Rather than working as individuals, they function as parts of a collective whole, doing what is best for the colony as a collective. For example, a swarm of ants work together to select the ideal location for the hive, whereas a single ant may make a mistake. Ants are able to do this because of the way that they communicate (more on that later). They “talk” in such a way that they form a seamless, brain-like structure.

6. Ants “talk” using chemicals:

Ants are able to communicate and cooperate effectively by using chemicals known as “pheromones.” Through these chemicals, ants are able to send simple messages to their fellows, alerting them to danger or indicating when food has been located. The workers will release pheromones with specific messages in order to say things like, “I’ll show you where food is!” or “Danger, Will Robinson!” (okay, so that last one would really be a bit more like “Intruder Alert. Attack!)

In this respect, individual members of an ant colony are able to “talk” with each other in order to coordinate their efforts by using their antenna to smell the chemicals that other ants release. As it turns out, this is a rather rapid and effective form of communication.

5. Ants can account for over a quarter of the animal biomass in some areas:

There are a lot of ants on Earth. A lot. Although they may be small, they add up quite a but. Entomologist Ted R. Schultz noted in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that ants “monopolize 15—20% of the terrestrial animal biomass, and in tropical regions where ants are especially abundant, they monopolize 25% or more.” However, it must be noted that ants are a taxonomic Family that is made up of some 20,000 known species, which ultimately means that we can’t actually say that they have the largest biomass of any individual species on Earth.

4. Some ants practice a primitive form of slavery:

Ants may seem like simple creatures, but they actually have rather evolved and complex societies (with an ant queen and all). There are several ant species that raid neighboring colonies in order to steal eggs or larvae to bring back to their own colonies. This is a practice that is known as “dulosis.” Of course, these forcibly acquired young are not always turned into slaves. Sometimes they are used as a food source (they are eaten). The species that use dulosis are informally called “slave-making ants,” and many of the ant species that use this practice do so in order to support their colonies.

3. Ants can carry more than 3 times their own weight:

Ants, like most small insects, are rather powerful. They are able to lift 3 times their body weight, and they can dangle while holding some 100 times their own weight. This is rather impressive, but they aren’t the strongest critters around. The dung beetle is the strongest known insect, as they are able to lift a staggering 1000 times their own weight.

2. Ants are not necessarily short-lived:

Compared to a human, ants are only on this planet for a brief time. Many species only live for a few weeks. However, some ants can live for years. In fact, many queen ants can live for decades (the oldest recorded ant lived for an astounding 30 years!).

1. There are some 10 quadrillion ants on Earth:

There are 7 billion humans on Earth. That’s quite a lot of people, but it’s nothing compared to ants. Current estimates assert that there are about 10 quadrillion ants on the planet. That’s 10,000,000,000,000,000. Let’s hope that don’t ever decide to stage a coup d’etat

Did we miss an interesting ant fact? Be sure to share it in the comments. For more on ants, see: “The Wild and Wonderful World of Ants” and “Horrors of Nature: Zombie Ants.”


100 Fun and Interesting Facts About Practically Everything

You’ll never believe these fun facts.

Fact: McDonald’s once made bubblegum-flavored broccoli

This interesting fact will have your taste buds crawling. Unsurprisingly, the attempt to get kids to eat healthier didn’t go over well with the child testers, who were “confused by the taste.” Find out which countries have banned McDonald’s.

Fact: Some fungi create zombies, then control their minds

The tropical fungus Ophiocordyceps infects ants’ central nervous systems. By the time the fungi been in the insect bodies for nine days, they have complete control over the host’s movements. They force the ants to climb trees, then convulse and fall into the cool, moist soil below, where fungi thrive. Once there, the fungus waits until exactly solar noon to force the ant to bite a leaf and kill it. Don’t miss these 12 animal «facts» that are actually false.

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Fact: The first oranges weren’t orange

The original oranges from Southeast Asia were a tangerine-pomelo hybrid, and they were actually green. In fact, oranges in warmer regions like Vietnam and Thailand still stay green through maturity. For more interesting facts, find out which “orange” came first: the color or the fruit.

Fact: There’s only one letter that doesn’t appear in any U.S. state name

Can you guess the answer to this random fact? You’ll find a Z (Arizona), a J (New Jersey), and even two X’s (New Mexico and Texas)—but not a single Q. Check out these other 50 fun facts about every state in America.

Fact: A cow-bison hybrid is called a “beefalo”

You can even buy its meat in at least 21 states. Don’t miss these other random facts about your favorite foods.

Fact: Johnny Appleseed’s fruits weren’t for eating

Yes, there was a real John Chapman who planted thousands of apple trees on U.S. soil. But the apples on those trees were much more bitter than the ones you’d find in the supermarket today. “Johnny Appleseed” didn’t expect his fruits to be eaten whole, but rather made into hard apple cider.

Fact: Scotland has 421 words for “snow”

Yes—421! That’s too many fun facts about snow. Some examples: sneesl (to start raining or snowing); feefle (to swirl); flinkdrinkin (a light snow). Don’t miss these other 11 random interesting facts about snow.

Fact: Samsung tests phone durability with a butt-shaped robot

Do these interesting facts have you rethinking everything? People stash their phones in their back pockets all the time, which is why Samsung created a robot that is shaped like a butt—and yes, even wears jeans—to “sit” on their phones to make sure they can take the pressure.

Fact: The “Windy City” name has nothing to do with Chicago weather

Was this one of the random facts you already knew? Chicago’s nickname was coined by 19th-century journalists who were referring to the fact that its residents were “windbags” and “full of hot air.”

Fact: Peanuts aren’t technically nuts

They’re legumes. According to Merriam-Webster, a nut is only a nut if it’s “a hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell and interior kernel.” That means walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios aren’t nuts either. They’re seeds.


30 Interesting Fire Ants Facts

Tiny individual ants look cute and funny but not when they are in large groups invading anything and everything coming their way. Not all ants may be dangerous but when fire ants are in question, it is a whole different story and you should be concerned! They are the worst invasive ants known. In this article titled 30 interesting fire ants facts, we are going to learn some really fascinating facts about these creatures that can truly make your life hell in many ways. So, let us begin!

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 1-5

1. The term fire ant actually doesn’t represent a single species of ants. In fact, the term is used to refer to at least 280 different species that are classified under genus Solenopsis.

2. Fire ants live in large colonies that consist of up to 250,000 worker ants.

3. Fire ants are so called because of two reasons – first, they have a reddish appearance and second, they have a very painful sting. The pain caused by the sting is same as the pain caused by a fire burn and hence the name.

4. These ants are extremely aggressive and anything that intrudes into their colonies are met with repeated stinging.

5. As far as their nesting habits are concerned, these ants usually build their nests in ground. Many of these nests may have visible mounds above the ground with a diameter of around 61 centimeters. These mounds may rise up to 18 centimeters above ground.

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 6-10

6. Interestingly, most of the species of fire ants are not invasive by nature. However, there is a particular species known as Solenopsis invicta which is a very invasive species by nature. This species is commonly known as RIFA or Red Imported Fire Ants.

7. Though fire ants feed primarily on seeds and young plants, the are actually omnivores. They also feed on small animals and birds.

8. While talking of the feeding habit, it is important to say that these ants are extremely aggressive and can collectively kill small animals.

9. Fire ants have a unique feature. The first time they bite not for spraying acid as other ants do. In fact, they bite to get a good grip on the skin and then they pull out a chemical compound known as Solenopsin from their stomach and inject it into their victims. This compound is actually an alkaloid venom.

10. For most humans, a fire ant sting only causes terrible pain and then it subsides. However, those people who are allergic to the alkaloid venom can actually be threatened by death. Such sensitive people, when stung by a fire ant, can experience extreme swelling at the sting site along with redness and itching. They may experience tongue thickening, short breath as well as extreme sweating. Under such circumstances, quick medical attention is extremely important to prevent a lethal outcome.

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 11-15

11. The aggressive behavior of the fire ants allow them to eliminate local competition by pushing out other insects of the locality. Sometimes, these ants even drive other insects to extinction.

12. Most often the fire ants act as parasites to get rid of competition. One unique example will be Euglossa imperialis – a species of orchid bee that is known to be non-social by nature. The fire ants enter the beehive cells from underneath the nest and consume all the nutrients present inside the cells and thereby eliminate the competition.

13. Fire ants have displayed extreme resilience against harsh natural conditions. For example, during flooded conditions when most of the other species of ants and other insects perish, fire ants latch on to each other and float on the water. The queen ant sits on top of the raft made up of worker ants. The ant raft can float for days until they find some land where they can create their colony.

14. In this interesting raft formation, the worker ants that are at the very bottom will often come up and other worker ants from top will take their place. This allows the bottom level ants to breathe and ride out the water.

15. Not just extreme flood conditions, fire ants are also known to survive bone chilling winters. Interestingly though, majority of the ants in a colony will perish (somewhere up to 80% to 90% of a colony can perish) but the remaining ants will swiftly grow in numbers.

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 16-20

16. Fire ants don’t hibernate during extreme winter months. That’s why most of them perish.

17. As far as their nests are concerned, they prefer moist lands. That’s the reason why highway shoulder, watered lawns, pond shores and river banks are their most preferred nesting grounds.

18. They usually build their nests under some kind of object like a pile of bricks or rocks, logs or timber. In case they don’t find any such cover, they will build their nest directly in open ground and only then they will build mounds.

See also:  Effective Ways to Kill Ants Outside

19. In case of fire ants it is not necessary that a single colony will have a single queen. There are instances where they have polygynous colonies where there are multiple queen ants and each queen ant will mate with only one male ant.

20. A typical fire ant colony consists of queen ant, male ants, soldier ants and worker ants. Worker ants are the smallest of all while the queen ants are the biggest in size. Soldier ants are almost the size of worker ants but with slightly larger and powerful mandibles.

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 21-25

21. The male fire ants are also known as the drones. The job of the drones is to mate with queen ants. Interestingly however, the drones die immediately after mating.

22. The worker ants are responsible for various activities like food foraging, nest cleaning, pupae caring, larvae caring, eggs caring etc.

23. Queen ants survive for nearly 7 years and they are capable of laying an astonishing 1600 eggs in a single day once they are fertilized by the drones. This explains why fire ants grow in population so quickly. This also explains why a colony many be made up of 250,000 worker ants because unless they are available in large quantities, they cannot take care of the eggs.

24. Worker ants usually live anywhere between 5.83 and 6.77 years.

25. Queen ants and drones that are virgin actually have wings. However, once the mating is over, the drones die out and the queen ants rip off their wings.

Interesting Fire Ants Facts: 26-30

26. Fire ants have a distinct head, a distinct thorax and a distinct abdomen. They have one antennae pair and 3 leg pairs. They head and thorax are usually copper brown in color and the abdomen is dark.

27. The worker ants grown anywhere between 2 mm and 6 mm. The worker ants can also have different colors that can range anywhere from being reddish to blackish. Ants of different colors and different sizes can all be found in a typical colony.

28. The only known natural predator of fire ants is the phorid fly. The phorid flies are hump-back flies. They don’t really eat these ants. The flies simply lay eggs on the thorax of the fire ants. When the instar larvae are formed from the egg, they push their way into the heads of the fire ants.

29. Once inside the head, the instar larvae start feeding on nervous and muscle tissues in the heads of the ants. The larvae also feed on hemolymph. This continues for about two weeks. That’s when the final kill is made by the larvae.

30. After about 14 days, the larvae of the phorid flies that are present inside the heads of the fire ants start releasing a special type of enzyme. This enzyme attacks the membrane that connects the head of an ant and dissolves it completely. Once the membrane gets dissolved, the heads of the fire ants get detached and fall off! Nice way of decapitating! Phorid flies are often used for controlling fire ant infestation naturally.

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Interesting Facts About Ants — Top 5

Instructions for teachers


1 Like all insects, ants have six legs. Each leg has three joints. The legs of the ant are very strong so they can run very quickly. If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse. Ants can lift 20 times their own body weight. An ant brain has about 250 000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million so a colony of 40,000 ants has collectively the same size brain as a human.
2 The average life expectancy of an ant is 45-60 days. Ants use their antenae not only for touch, but also for their sense of smell. The head of the ant has a pair of large, strong jaws. The jaws open and shut sideways like a pair of scissors. Adult ants cannot chew and swallow solid food. Instead they swallow the juice which they squeeze from pieces of food. They throw away the dry part that is left over. The ant has two eyes, each eye is made of many smaller eyes.
3 They are called compound eyes. The abdomen of the ant contains two stomachs. One stomach holds the food for itself and second stomach is for food to be shared with other ants. Like all insects, the outside of their body is covered with a hard armour this is called the exoskeleton. Ants have four distinct growing stages, the egg, larva, pupa and the adult. Biologists classify ants as a special group of wasps. (Hymenoptera Formicidae) There are over 10000 known species of ants. Each ant colony has at least one or more queens.
4 The job of the queen is to lay eggs which the worker ants look after. Worker ants are sterile, they look for food, look after the young, and defend the nest from unwanted visitors. Ants are clean and tidy insects. Some worker ants are given the job of taking the rubbish from the nest and putting it outside in a special rubbish dump! Each colony of ants has its own smell. In this way, intruders can be recognized immediately. Many ants such as the common Red species have a sting which they use to defend their nest.
5 The common Black Ants and Wood Ants have no sting, but they can squirt a spray of formic acid. Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites. The Slave-Maker Ant (Polyergus Rufescens) raids the nests of other ants and steals their pupae. When these new ants hatch,they work as slaves within the colony. The worker ants keep the eggs and larvae in different groups according to ages.
6 At night the worker ants move the eggs and larvae deep into the nest to protect them from the cold. During the daytime, the worker ants move the eggs and larvae of the colony to the top of the nest so that they can be warmer. If a worker ant has found a good source for food, it leaves a trail of scent so that the other ants in the colony can find the food. Army Ants are nomadic and they are always moving. They carry their larvae and their eggs with them in a long column.
7 The Army Ant (Ecitron Burchelli) of South America, can have as many as 700,000 members in its colony. The Leaf Cutter Ants are farmers. They cut out pieces of leaves which they take back to their nests. They chew them into a pulp and a special fungus grows it. Ants cannot digest leaves because they cannot digest cellulose. Many people think ants are a pest but I like them. To stop them coming into my kitchen I put some sugar outside. They they have so much to eat that they are not interested in coming into my kitchen.

Infomation source: Some text in a software game by Soleau The Independent on Sunday newspaper


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