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5 Interesting Facts About Ants

07/22/2016

Sure, they can be pests, but you may be surprised to learn how fascinating these little creatures actually are.

Photo by: Shutterstock

Ant infestations tend to happen fast. Maybe you just noticed one or two ants at first, but before you know it, you've got a whole line of ants crossing your kitchen counter. Regardless of whether your ant problem is an annoyance or an all-out infestation, you may be surprised to learn how fascinating these little creatures actually are.

Read on for some fun ant facts.

1. Ants can be hard to kill


Because of their colony living structures, it can be difficult to kill the ants invading your home. Argentine ants, or black ants, can have satellite colonies in nearby yards or homes. Fire ants, or any other type of ants that can live outdoors and indoors, must be treated differently depending on the location of their mound and what season it is. If it seems like a lot to learn, don't take it on alone. It’s always easier to bring in a professional when you've got an infestation on your hands.

2. Ants farm aphids


Like a bully from the comics who offers you protection in return for your lunch money or a mob boss who takes his cut from your business for a similar promise of protection, ants have a relationship with some species of Homopterans like aphids. The aphids bring the ants sweet nectar from their own food source while the ants provide protection from predators or natural elements such as rain. It's not necessarily as symbiotic as it sounds, as the aphids are herded and manipulated through their duties. Evidence suggests ants drug the aphids to make them more effective at collecting food.

3. Some common ants are new to the U.S.


rasberry crazy ant
Rasberry crazy ant

While it’s easy to assume the types of ants we see every day have been around for a while, ants are a varied species and many ants have migrated here from other parts of the world. The red imported fire ant wasn't discovered in the United States until the 1940s. Now, the mounds the red ants live in are a pesky staple in areas with warm climates across the country. The tawny ant, sometimes called “Rasberry crazy ant” or "hairy crazy ant" (even by the Encyclopedia Britannica) didn’t exist in the United States until as recently as 2002.

4. Ants live in complex cultures


We’ve all heard about how ant colonies have a queen and workers, but ants live in systems much more complicated than that. Some types of ants are even gardeners and cultivate fungi in their nests to feed the colony. Others can enslave their “enemies” or infiltrate other colonies – the queen of Bothriomyrmex decapitans allows herself to be captured by other ants so she can kill the queen of the colony and begin laying her own eggs.

5. There are more than 12,000 types of ants


The massive number of ants that exist on earth is almost unquantifiable — estimates say there could be approximately 100 trillion ants, from small stinger-less black ants to giant red fire ants. While many scientists disagree with the idea that all the ants on Earth weigh more than all the people on Earth, it's still an impressive number of creatures (which would weigh in at about 40 billion kilograms, or more than 88 billion pounds).

No matter what type of ant you have on your property or in your home, if ants have become a nuisance, it might be time to call in the pros. At Terminix®, we can identify and rid you of any ant problems you may have.

Next > Fire Ant Stings: How To Treat Or, Better Yet, Avoid Them