The other day our house was besieged by ants. Long columns of them marched around our kitchen. At first we thought somebody had left something sweet by the sink and that’s what they were attracted to, but then we realised that they were going for the water.
Mum wanted to spray them all with Doom. I thought that was a bit harsh and convinced her to leave them alone for a while to see if they disappeared as fast as they had arrived. Lucky for them, they did.
This got me wondering about ants. I googled to find out some more.
Turns out there are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen, the female workers and males. The queen and the males have wings. The workers don’t have wings. (The workers are the ants that we usually see scurrying around the place.) The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s job is to mate with future queen ants and they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen grows to adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs!
Ant colonies also have soldier ants that protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space. If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony. When the eggs hatch, the new ants become the “slave” ants for the colony. Some jobs of the colony include taking care of the eggs and babies, gathering food for the colony and building the anthills or mounds.
Did you know…
- There are more than 12,000 species of ants that can be found all over the world?
- An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
- Ants do not have ears. They “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
- Ants also don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through those same holes.
- When ants fight – they usually fight to the death.
- Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies. Queen ants shed their wings when they start a new nest.
- When searching for food, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they have been.
Sjoe! Ants are actually quite amazing.
Let’s not step on ants.
Have a great week.