Ants

Formicidae
1.5 - 13mm

A well evolved species, ants are incredibly social creatures that develop colonies that can span across the world - and unfortunately, into our homes.

Threat Level
3
Nuisance Score
8

Characteristics

Ants are usually thought of as the tiny, hard-working insects bustling about in their tunnels underground. Indeed, ants are eusocial insects renowned for their highly organized colonies, and they are a fascinating species. Their global footprint, diverse in size and shape, makes them a fascinating topic of study.

In fact, some scientists believe that there is an ant supercolony that spans as far as 6,000km in the Mediterranean region!

Ants range from minute critters to surprisingly large varieties. Their signature features include a robust exoskeleton, segmented bodies, antennae for navigation, and six nimble legs that keep them moving.

Biology

With a focus on maintaining their colonies, ants exemplify the beauty of collective survival. Their colonies range from dozens to millions of individuals and are neatly divided into castes, each with a dedicated role. The queen, the colony's sole reproducer, is served by sterile female workers who carry out essential tasks, from foraging for food to defending the colony. Males generally have a fleeting presence, appearing only for mating before their life cycle ends.

Ants are versatile eaters, choosing from insects, plants, and, surprisingly, fellow ants for meals. They also play the scavenger role, consuming everything from waste to deceased animals. In doing so, ants become ecological regulators, keeping other insect populations in check.

Ants exchange food with one another by a process called trophallaxis, whereby they feed each other through regurgitation of food from one ant’s mouth into another. As disgusting as this may sound to you and I, it’s actually a very effective way to share food amongst the colony.

Habitat

Ants are very adaptable, making habitats in forests, grasslands, and deserts, and yes, even our homes. Warm, moist environments are their preferred spaces; where they fashion nests out of soil, wood, or other materials. Some species like carpenter ants are known to carve out intricate nests in wooden structures which can pose a serious risk to homeowners.

Human Interaction

While ants may seem like bothersome invaders, particularly when they actively infiltrate our homes, they're not entirely undesirable. They can help control other insect populations and even assist in plant pollination. However, their presence in our homes is an unwelcome one. Ants can lead to food contamination, property damage, and in some cases, painful bites which can have serious consequences should someone develop an allergic reaction.

FAQ

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Pest Control

If ants have overrun your home and you're finding it challenging to manage, consider reaching out to a professional pest control company. Their experience and expertise can provide a quick and effective solution to your ant problem.

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