The insect world is a huge and vast ecosystem. In the world today, there are more insect species than there are actual human beings. Because of this, entomologists have their jobs cut out for them. Of all the insects in the insect world, the most organized is definitely the ant. Ants are insects that live in large colonies and use their hive mentality to survive. Let’s explore the world of ants and look through the different peculiarities, where and when they become pests, and how we can deal with these insects in our homes and businesses.
Ants are found almost all over the world with the only exception being Antarctica. These insects are always structured in the same general way. At the bottom of their social pyramid, you will find worker ants. These ants are the most numerous and do the main work of the colony. They are all female and are very strong for their size. The colony of ants will also have soldiers. These soldiers are often noted by larger heads and are protective mechanisms such as large mandibles, deadly venom, or other protection devices. Lastly, the royalty sits on top. Above all is the queen ant. This ant is the largest in size because she is tasked with laying all the eggs for the colony. Many of these ant colonies can stretch into the millions of individuals and sometimes even larger numbers. So laying eggs is a full-time job.
Each individual species of ant organize their colonies in many different ways. The Argentine ant for example lives in what is known as a super colony. Basically these colonies multiplied by splintering. After a queen has established a decent size colony, another queen will be born into her colony. Once this happens, and that queen comes to full age, that queen will move out to a nearby area and start another colony. The workers from the original colony will come and help to start the new colony and this process will continue until the second colony is just as established as the first. Then both colonies will live interchangeably. Workers and soldiers will move between both of them and then eventually another queen will rise and they’ll continue this process. The entire East Coast of the United States is actually a super colony made up of thousands of these colonies all up and down the coast.
WHAT ANTS EAT
Ants also will vary vastly in their diet. There are ant colonies that will survive solely on plant matter. There are also species of ants that are meat eaters. And omnivores are also present. Many insects, including the ant, feed on honeydew. Honeydew is actually leftovers from aphids. Aphids feed on the nectar of plants and when as they feed they overfill and a little bit of the nectar will come out of their rectum. This is honeydew and many other insects will feed on this sweet, sugary energy. The leaf cutter ant will actually heard aphids. They create “farms”, so to speak, and protect the aphids against other predators in return for enjoying the honeydew from their aphid livestock.
Ants can also be ferocious fighters. In the United States we have two different versions of the Fire ant. If you’ve ever stepped on a Fire ant mound, you know how painful their bite can be. These ants have a venom that they use when they bite to protect their colony. The bullet ant also uses the same protection mechanism. It’s found in South America, but it’s bite is one of the most painful in the entire animal kingdom. The pain registers a full four points on the Schmidt pain scale for stinging insects, the highest score. This is one of the most painful bites that you can experience. It’s been described as walking on flaming coals with a nail in your foot.
THIS AMAZING INSECT
As much as ants can be violent, they also have some amazing feats that they can perform. The average ant can carry over 10 times its body weight. It’s also have a unique form of navigation that the workers use. Scientist have been studying this navigation for a while and discovering how they do it. When the worker ants go out from their colony to forage for food, they will leave a trail of pheromones. Pheromones are a hormone that is used to trace their steps. Once they find food they’ll follow their pheromone trail back to the colony, bringing food. This will signal to the other aunts to go back to the same place. They will do this by following the pheromone trail. If two ants find their way to the same food source with different trails, then the ants will follow both pheromone trails for a time. One of the pheromone trails will be longer, so it will take longer for those ants to go down that trail. That pheromone trail will start to fade after a while. But because the shorter trail has more ants following and leaving their own pheromone each time, it will get stronger and stronger. Because of this more ants we use the shorter path, until no other ants will use the longer path at all. This means that they found the shortest and most efficient way to get back to the food source. It’s an ingenious system that mother nature has created.
DEALING WITH ANTS IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS
Ants are truly remarkable insects. But in some cases, they can find their way into our homes and businesses and become pests. They will eat our food if they can get to it. It’s in these cases that your best solution is to find a reputable Broken Arrow pest control company to help you deal with your ant issues. Ants can be very difficult to eliminate because they’re so organized. You must eliminate this problem at the source which is the colony. Most over-the-counter sprays and baits will work well on the workers but never take care of the source of the problem which is the colony. Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are one of the best in the business when it comes to taking care of ants and other pest invaders. We are the best Tulsa exterminator around. We service the greater Tulsa area including Bixby, Coweta, Jenks, Claremore, Catoosa, Owasso, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Prattville, Turley, Broken Arrow and much more. Call us today! We’re here to help!