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Types of Ants (19 Pictures, Identify, Guide, Facts)

Everyone has seen ants in their home, garden, or campsite.

Ants have more than 12000 species. Below is a list of the more common species:

Argentine Ants

They are the piranhas of the ant family. You might not suspect the for any kind of shady activity. But they will promote the growth of other pests, including themselves while devastating and ravaging different types of insects. They will drive out other ant species.

They are dark brown, less than ¼ in long, and live in the Southwast US, Hawaii, and California. They do not sting. They are smelly if stepped on. They like sweet foods, but will eat meat, cereal, and other insects.

This specific type has 116 sensory receptors for taste and 367 for the smell. Even mosquitoes look cute when comparing their taste receptors (just 76) to these ants.

Pavement Ants

This is the most common ant in the US, they are fond of living inside of the cracks of pavements. But they can also be found outdoors beneath rocks and stones, inside of soil, and in slabs lying close to buildings.

They do also nest indoors under floors and in walls. They are light brown to black in color and about 3mm long.

Their colonies are close sources of heat during winter and close to cool areas in the months of summer. Their colonies are usually small in size but can accommodate up to 10000 ants.

Spring might be pleasant for us humans, but it can mean death for the average pavement ant.

Entire colonies will be vying for control of more and more food. Situations like these can quickly erupt into full-fledged battles where hundreds will die on either side, and reinforcements will be shoveled in by either side.

They do not bite, but can sting.

They will swarm food in their range of forage (the maximum distance they can travel to gather food for the colony). Like other ants, they will not spare the opportunity to feed on the food first, then grab the rest for the settlement. 

Insects, plant saps, seeds, and plant juice are their favorites. But being ants, they might as well eat anything consumable. They also eat meat, grease, and other indects. You can use Peanut butter to bait them if they have invaded your home. 

 

Thief

They like greasy foods. They are yellow, brown, and pale and tiny at only 1/16 in long. They nest under debris outside and in walls inside. They eat bread, nuts, fat, dairy, oil, sweets, insects, and seeds. They live in Eastern US.

 

Odorous

They are shiny and black with smooth body and little hair. They smell bad if stepped on. They do not bite and have no stinger. They nest under mulch and stones, in bricks and walls. They feed on sugary sweets and dead insects.

 

Carpenter Ants

They are over half an inch long, black, red, or brown. The have a large head with slim body. They are know to do a lot of damage to wood. They are nocturnal, they bite but do not sting. They nest in hollow trucks and tree branches especially damp wood. They do invade homes and can live for 5 years. They nest in wet decaying wood, trees, and logs.

 

Fire Ants

They are redish and have a powerful sting. They are found outside and live in mounds on ground. They are ¼ in long with brown head and body. They destroy crops. They are the number one ant pest.

 

Crazy Ants

They run in an eratic zig zag pattern and are known to damage electrical wiring. They have dark brown hairy bodies and are fast moving.

 

Little Black

They are black to brown in color. They have stingers buy weak stings. They prefer to live in wooded areas under rocks.

 

Rover ant

They are tiny in size, brown in color, and do not sting. They are attracted to sweet foods. The nest outside in trees.

 

Pharaoh

The are yellowish brown and very small at 1/32 in long. They nest in boxes and walls and prefer high humidity. They feed on fat, meat, blood, and other insects.

They are the 2nd most nuisance ant behind the fire ant.

 

Ghost

They are only 1/16 of an inch long. The have dark brown head with pale end body and legs. They like warm humid weather like Florida. They eat insect honeydew.

 

Leafcutter

They are light brown with long legs. They are nocturnal. They prefer to live outside eating plant parts, and also place leaves underground to grow a fungus that they eat. The are large sized and found in the eastern US and Texas.

 

Sugar ants

They are about 1/8 in long or less. Females are orange, males are black with wings. They live thoughout the US with concentration in the Pacific Northwest. They like to eat sweets like agave nectar, maple syrup, and honey. They do not bite.

 

Citronella

They are amber and smell like lemon verbena when stepped on. AKA yellow ants. They look like termites and feed on honeydew from aphids.

 

White Footed

They have pale feet. They do not share food like other ants.

Pryamid

They are brown and red in color and have a triangular pojection. They do bite so be careful if you are in the southwest US.

 

Harvester

They are orange and red and about ½ in long.They have hairy chins that look like beards. They live in western US and Florida. They eat grass seeds. They bite and sting.

Cornfield ants

They are 3mm long and brown. They will bite.

 

Field

They are a variety of colors from black, brown, red to pale. AKA Thatch Mound Ant. They are 4-8 mm long. They nest in soil and dead wood. They can sting and are found in Northeast and Midwest US.

 

Pyramid ants

They are red or colored and about 3mm long. They prey on fire ants.

 

Acrobat

They are 1/8 in long and black or brown. They sting. They have 2 spines on thorax. They are active during the day. They lift gasters up when threatened. They nest in trees and decaying logs and will come inside homes. When they run their abdomen is in the air so it looks like they are tumbling like an acrobat. They live in the eastern US.

 

Big Headed

They live in Florida and look like photo above.

 

Kidnapper

They get their name from stealing other ants babies. They have red heads with black body.

 

Black house ant

They are shiny and black about 3mm long. They like sweets and grease and spread salmonella.

Asian needle

They are about 5mm long, brown to black with orange mandibles. They sting. They live in Southeastern US.

Dark Rover

They are less than 2mm long and brown. They like sweets and do not sting. They live in the South and Southeastern US.

Agronomy Rmecienae 

Agronomy Rmecienae is one of the subfamilies of ants that contain two extant and two fossil genres. Initially, it was classified in 1930 by a carpenter as Agroecomyrmecini. It is one of the earliest lineages of ants. Later on, it was expanded to two tribes: Myrmicinae and Agroecomyrmecinae.

Amblyoponinae

Amblyoponinae, a sub-family of ants, belongs to the Poneromorph group, having 13 extinct genera and an extinct genus. In this family, ants are subterranean predators. Adult workers are known as Dracula ants because they pierce the integument of their larvae to imbibe hemolymph. They live under rocks or logs.

Aneuretinae

Aneuretinae, another subclass of ants, comprises a single extant species, Aneuretus Simoni, and nine other fossil species. In the previous eras, it was thought that the position of Aneuretus Simoni was intermediate between primitive and advanced. However, modern studies have proven that it is the closest relative to the subfamily Dolichoderinae.

Dolichoderinae

Dolichoderinae is yet another of the subfamilies of ants, including species like the Argentine ant, the erratic ant, the cone ant, and the odorous house ant. A great diversity of this subfamily is found throughout the world in different biogeographic realms. These are ranging from Australian, Neotropical, Middle Eastern, Afrotropical, Palearctic, to Nearctic domains. They nest under rocks in the soil, under living and rotten wood.

Dorylinae

Dorylinae is an ant subfamily that evolved between 103-75 million years ago. They rapidly adapted to radiations during their early history.

Ectatominnae

Ectatominnae is a subfamily of ants that belongs to the perimorph subfamily group. It consists of 4 extant and three extinct genera in two tribes.

Suicidal Ants

Some ants (and some types of carpenter ants) will purposefully kill themselves to defend the colony, known as authothysis, also known as suicidal altruism. 

Ants as Farmers

Some ant types will grow fungus within the colony for a specific reason. That is not to become perished in times of starvation. 

Exploding Ants

This type of ant is found only in Malaysia and Brunei and will sacrifice itself to defend the colony as its last act of defiance. 

Ants Have Awareness

In a study conducted on 24 ants, a blue dot was painted on all of them. Apart from just one, all of them started searching for the drop on themselves, proving that they indeed are self-aware. 

Hero Ants

This type makes colonies on top of cliffs and places that are pretty high. When an invader tries to take their colony over, they will latch on to that invader. They will then fling over the edge of that high surface, killing the invaders with them.

All-female Ants

The M. Smithii type of ant is the only known ant that has all females and no males. This means that they reproduce asexually. 

Zombie Ants

One type of fungus can quite legitimately make an ant become a zombie. The hard covering doesn’t allow this fungus to attack from the top or sides, so it attacks from down below and keeps eating the soft tissues.

But after a while, this infected ant will become a zombie for unknown reasons and leave the colony, bite a leaf with a grip as if its life depended on it, then die. Some days later, the fungus will release spores to kill off more ants. 

Some ant types have learned how to remove their infected brethren and will personally drop them outside of the colony. 

 

A Brief History of Ants

Ants evolved from vespoid wasp ancestors in the Cretaceous period and were diversified after the rise of flowering plants. They were discovered 140 to 168 million years ago, during the Jurassic period (when dinosaurs roamed the land and swam the seas) & plant life consisted mainly of spore-bearing species like ferns and pines. 

During the early cretaceous and early-late cretaceous, ants appeared in the fossil record across the globe in considerable diversity, slowly evolving from wasps. 

Interestingly, ants are social insects that live in colonies, including a queen, workers, drones (also known as “males” or male ants), eggs, larvae, and pupae. The structure made by ants is known as nests. They evolved 100 million years ago.

There are more than 12000 species of ants. However, scientists believe that many more may exist that are yet to be discovered. Most of them are red and blue. Like other arthropods, they have an exoskeleton and jointed legs.

They Can’t Be Seriously Injured After Falling Down

No matter what height an ant is dropped from or drops from said height by itself, it will not be seriously injured, because they don’t have enough mass.

Ants Scientific Classification

Below is the scientific classification of ants:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hymenoptera

Sub Order: Apocrita

Family: Formicidae

There are many species of ants having different genera.

Body of Ants

Like every other insect, an ant’s body is divided into three main parts: Head, Thorax, and Abdomen. Ants also have a waterproof exoskeleton made up of chitin. That layer of chitin is pretty thick and protects them against attackers. 

Similarly, they have a pair of antennae by which they can recognize their nestmates and enemies. Besides, they also have three pairs of jointed legs.

Head

The ant’s head is the sensory capital of its body. They have two curved antennae at the front of their heads, which they use to smell and touch their surroundings. Their antennae are bent in half. 

Thorax

The ant’s thorax, also called the mesosoma (Meso = middle, soma = body), makes up the middle of its body. It is located behind the head and in the front of the abdomen. The six jointed legs of ants are attached to the thorax. This body part is full of muscles that help the ant run quite fast compared to its size.

Ants of the Formicidae sub-family have an acid pore at the very end of the thorax, used to release formic acid as a defense mechanism. 

Abdomen

Ant’s abdomen is segmented and located behind the thorax, near the tail area. The stomach is the essential body part containing reproductive organs, Malpighian tubes, and an extensive digestive system. That system includes the foregut, hindgut, and rectum.

The exoskeleton protects the abdomen. Ants are more potent than their size, and they can lift ten times more of their weight!

 

Exoskeleton

They have an outer exoskeleton made up of chitin. It protects the ant’s body.

Antennae 

Ants’ have a pair of antennae on their heads above the eyes. They are elbow-shaped and contain two segments. The function of antennae is to smell, taste, touch and communicate with other ants. That’s why ants’ antennae are called feelers.

Jointed Legs

Ants have three pairs, which means six jointed legs coming out of their bodies, along with claws at the end of each leg. Their nails are used to grip food and other things of their need. Furthermore, they use their front legs to clean their bodies.

Size

Usually, ants are smaller than other arthropods. However, it’s much more solid and fast than many arthropods. The range of ants’ size is from 0.7-5.2 mm. The Titanomyrma giganteum species’ queen ant is 6 cm in length with a wingspan of 15 cm. 

The Amazonian is known as the largest species of ant in the world, which can reach a length of 1.6 inches. The smallest ant in the world is Monomorium pharaonic, yellow or light brown; they can be 2 mm long.

Mandibles 

Ants have mandibles despite having teeth. These are essential appendages for chewing, cutting, or piercing their food and defending their colony against their enemies. Mandibles are located externally and look like claws. 

They can move their mandibles up to 145mph, which is 1000 times faster than eyes blinking. The mandibles exert force 300-500 times the ant’s body weight. Early ants have two mandibles, but today’s ants have more than that. However, some species do not have any mandibles.

Eyes

Ants have a pair of compound eyes, which consist of many ommatidia. Each one acts as a separate eye that can also respond to its visual field

Tiny Hair

The ant’s body is covered with tiny hair. Interestingly, the function of these hairs is to reflect light falling on them into the atmosphere, which prevents the ants from overheating.

The Gaster

This place is where the digestive system is located. It is pretty round and may possess a sting injected into the enemy or a spray of formic acid.

Petiole and Post-petiole

It is one of the key differences between other insects and ants. Furthermore, it is a flexible junction and can bring the gaster further ahead to defend the ant.

Kinds of Ants in a Colony

Based on the ants’ work, gender, and size, there are mainly three kinds of ants found in their colony. Every ant performs its designated task. That’s why every ant colony works efficiently. Following are the types of ants:

  1. Queen 
  2. Drones

  3. Worker

Queen

There is at least one queen in every ant colony. However, some species may have two or more. The queen is more prominent and more significant than her compatriots. She lays eggs that grow and hatch into new queens with wings. Queens use the wings to fly out of the nest for mating purposes. Queen lives more than compatriots’ ants.

Drones (Male Ants)

Drones are fertile males having wings. Their only function is to impregnate the queen ant. When this process is done, it’s inevitable for a male to die within a few weeks.

Workers

Workers are sterile and multitasking females. There are numerous workers in a colony, more than queens and drones. They perform various essential activities such as burrowing tunnels, foraging for food, policing conflicts in the settlement, caring for the queens and young, and disposing of waste materials. 

There are two types of workers:

Major Workers: 

Primary workers are more extensive and are assigned particular tasks. For example, they may have more oversized mandibles and heads that could defend the colony against any invaders. These primary workers would be called soldiers. 

Minor Workers:

Minor workers have their fair share of work to do. Such as gathering food, cleaning the colony, building new, and developing existing settlements. Other than that, they may also take care of younger ants and all the eggs.

 

Organs of an Ant 

Ants, contrary to popular belief, do have specialized organs to perform their body functions.

The Breathing System

Ants don’t have lungs like other animals. They instead have a series of tiny holes all over the body that allows them to inhale & exhale oxygen. These are known as spiracles. 

The Digestive System

Ants have two stomachs, one for holding food for their consumption; the second is storing food for sharing purposes. This whole process is called trophallaxis and allows ants’ colonies to work efficiently.

Location of the Heart:

The heart isn’t located like us humans in the top center of the body. Instead, it is a long tube that runs throughout the length of the body. It pumps blood that is colorless to the rest of the body and then back to itself.

The Nervous System:

The nerves, though, resemble a human nervous system. It does run from the head to the back, but it does branch out into other places. 

Anatomy of a Queen Ant:

A queen ant is much bigger than an ordinary worker ant. Though the two do share similarities, the most obvious one being that they both are females. However, the queen has wings too, but they get torn off later after mating.

Other than that, the queen’s gaster doesn’t have an opening for acid spray or a sting. Instead, it stores all the eggs. 

Anatomy of a Male Ant:

If you have ever, come across a male ant. They are, of course, bigger compared to the workers, like the queen. But the most significant difference that they have compared to queens is that they die inevitably after mating with the queen after some weeks. Males also have smaller heads but longer antennae. 

Facts:

· Ants don’t have ears. They perform their auditory functions through special sensors on their feet. Thus, they listen by feeling vibrations in the ground.

· There is an ant species named after the famous environmentalist, Harrison Ford.

· Their colony is larger than the average ant farm. The size of the settlement is not fixed. Usually, it comes in all shapes and sizes and can construct multiple rooms and floors for various reasons. 

 

· Every worker in the colony is sterile and by default cannot reproduce. 

 

· The giant ant in the world is the bullet ant, measuring at 1.6 inches and found in the jungles of Panama. 

 

· They are more prone to surviving extreme cold with great ease. That’s why ants exist to this day while all the dinosaurs are dead. 

· Some species of ants do not make nests. These types of ants have two phases in their life: nomad and stationary. During the nomad phase, these ants travel all day and all night, invading other colonies for food. In the stationary phase, the queen lays eggs, and the worker ants make a nest out of their bodies to protect the queen.

· This one is the strangest fact about ants; there’s a species of fungus that infects the ants and takes control of their bodies. In this way, ants get controlled by them and act as zombies destroying plants.

· Mycocepurus Smithii, specific species of ants that don’t have male ants. Therefore, their queen reproduces asexually, resulting in clones of the queen. 

· All ants in a colony have their specific jobs, which means that an ant colony works very efficiently.

· Ants have two stomachs, one for personal use and storing food for the colony.

· They can swim as well.

 

· They make up a whole quarter (25%) of all the fauna in a tropical region.

  • Ants can lift to 15 kg of weight.

 

  • The average dog will die before the average black garden ant (at 15 years) will. 

  • They don’t have lungs. However, they can survive up to 24 hours in water.

  • Maxillary palps detect scents in an ant. 

 

  • The average and is roughly the size of a paperclip.

 

  • There might just be about ten quadrillion ants alive on Earth right now. That’s one million ants per human!

 

  • Worker ants can travel up to 700 feet from their origin/nest. Pretty remarkable, considering their size. 

 

  • The largest colony of ants to be ever found was 3750 miles in width.

 

  • Ants are said to be a whole quarter (25%) of the entire biomass of Earth. That’s the same as human biomass, by the way. 

 

  • A swarm of ants” is known as the proper collective noun for ants, not just the word “ants.”

 

  • A fifth of all ants in a colony do absolutely nothing. Are they unemployed?

 

  • Fire ants can float in the Amazon rainforest. They’ll link their legs up and will then hover over any body of water. 

 

  • Imagine being hit by an electric shock of 240 volts! That’s how you would feel if a bullet ant bit you.

 

  • Speaking of bullet ants, their venom can be effective for about 24 hours. 

 

  • The whole colony will die off in a matter of months if the queen dies too.

 

  • You’d need 40000 ants to be as intelligent as a human being. 

 

  • Army ants are found in Central and South America. These guys are always on the move to defend the colony.

 

  • Ant battles can last for up to weeks, with no end in sight.

 

  • They are the only non-mammals who will teach others through interaction. 

 

  • They can navigate through the Earth’s magnetic field. 

 

  • Fire ants can sleep up to nine hours a day. 

 

  • One hundred meters can be the maximum length of an ant swarm. 

  • They will barter services with their allies in exchange for food. 

 

  • They can, at times, be seen herding other insects, like leafhoppers.

 

  • Their total weight is more than the total weight of all humans combined. 

 

  • They evolved during the Cretaceous period, which makes them as old as dinosaurs. 

 

  • They exist on each and every continent, except for Antarctica. 

 

  • They possess brains (contrary to popular belief) that have about 250000 cells in total.

  • They can travel at most 2 miles per day, that’s about 3 inches per second.

 

  • The Australian green spider can disguise itself like an ant to get into a colony to eat ant eggs. 

 

  • Trophallaxis is the process by which ants share food. 

 

  • Alive ants will move their dead to a burial site because they will emit a specific chemical. This act will help the active in locating the body of the dead. If this same chemical is sprayed on an ant that’s alive, the live will treat that specific ant as kaput, regardless of whether that ant is dead or not. 

 

  • Male ants don’t have fathers! That’s because when a queen ant produces fertilized eggs, queens and workers (both being female) are produced. But male ants (also known as drones) are made from unfertilized eggs. 

 

  • Given how a queen ant can live up to 30 years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they can lay millions of eggs throughout their lifespans. 

 

  • Only two species have ever been successful at domesticating another species. The first is us humans, the second, ants.

 

  • Fire ants can cause damage of more than three million GBP. 

 

  • Two millimeters is the total length of the Pharoah ant, the tiniest ant in size. 

Lifespan

Queen ants can usually live up to 30 years, while worker ants live from 1 to 3 years. Males, however, are pretty short-lived, surviving for only a few weeks.

  

Habitat

Ants mostly live in a nest constructed underground, above or under a rock. Their nests are usually made of twigs, gravel, or sand. Some species live in hollow weed stems, inside the trees, and beneath the rocks. Carpenter ants are common in North America that live in old logs and timbers.

Diet

Ants are omnivorous – they can eat everything and anything. In the ecosystem, they feed on the milk of aphids and other small Hemiptera, insects, small living or dead invertebrates, the sap of plants and various fruits. Moreover, they eat eggs of other insects. The ant’s diet varies among species, but most eat leaves, seeds, small insects, nectar, and honeydew. 

Most ants have diverse tastes; however, some have specialized tastes as well. For instance, pharaoh ants feed on sugar, protein, oil, and insects. Fire ants will eat everything a pharaoh ant will eat, and seeds too. Similarly, Carpenter ants preferably consume sugars and insects.

Most of the time, ants’ choices for certain foods vary throughout the year based on the quantity of brood being made in the nest. This variance in food choices and has some consequences on the use of bait for ant control.

At times, changing from sugar-based baits to protein or oil-based baits may be necessary to maintain the ants’ interest in the toxic baits. Ants use scouts to locate food. When a scouting ant finds good food, she carries it or any part of it to the nest. 

Furthermore, some ants leave scent trails composed of various chemical compounds known as pheromones that others can follow to the food source. The pheromone trail that scout ants deposit is usually short-lived and must be reapplied continuously. 

Ants require water and can travel some distance for it if necessary. Workers can bring water to their colonies in their gut.

Ants can carry food back to the nest to feed the rest of the colony and are capable of holding more than 20 times their weight. They search for food in a group and bring them by teamwork.

Breeding of Ants

Queen ant mates only once and never mate again, as they are not fond of repetitive mating. However, it stores the males’ sperm in a specialized pouch-like organ, the gaster, for a particular time.

After that, she opens the pouch allowing the sperms to fertilize the eggs that she produces.

Establishment of a New Colony by Nuptial Flights

The establishment of ants’ new colony has two main methods: flights of winged reproduction and budding. The most usual method is for male and female reproductive to go away from the nest on mating flights (nuptial flights). These several hundred to thousands of winged reproductives that come out from colonies for their nuptial flights are also known as “swarming.” 

These ant swarms in early spring can result in increased frantic homeowner calls to pest management professionals. The mating flights are usually triggered by weather cues such as the right temperature and after 24 hours of a rainstorm. 

Establishment of Colony by Budding

Moreover, the mated queen builds a cavity or cell and raises a brood without the assistance of workers. This first brood molts into small workers, which then search for food and take over the brood-caring and other duties as the nest grows while the queen lays eggs. The colony size increases as numbers of more young are produced. 

The colony multiplies, but its growth slows down when the colony size is close to maturity. Budding will occur when one or more queens exit the nest accompanied by workers who support developing and caring for the new colony.

Departments in a Colony

Long passages are used to connect one room or “department” (if you think about it) to the other. These rooms are used to store grain or for other purposes like looking after the eggs. 

Teamwork

A single ant can only do light work, but when they work in a team, they can complete their challenging goals and tasks very quickly. This collaborative work is the most beautiful quality of ants in that they work as a team and complete their work systematically. 

They use their specific skill sets to improve the colony. They will always work together and use their combined strength not just to move things around but also to defend their nest. 

This nature can also become offensive if the situation warrants it. Argentine ants, for instance, can kill pest-killing insects like scales, mealybugs, and aphids. 

Ant Wars

Ants of the same colony will legitimately go out on the offensive for two main reasons.

  1. They are losing territory, or;

  2. They are losing resources.

If a colony thinks that a rival territory (whether of the same species or of some different species) will try to take said land or resources over, they will seek battle. An aggressive and organized response will be delivered to the enemy this way. 

The Norm-Defying Army Ant

Army ants, also known as soldier ants, aren’t really that big on the idea of staying home the whole time. During periods of migration, these guys are the ones who will go out to search for food. And as they are experienced in this task, they can also defend their food supply from other ant colonies and their armies. 

However, when army ants are home “garrisoning” it, they will stick their head out of the holes of the nests. “Friendly ants” that want to get in will touch the head of the soldier defending the entrance, letting it know that it too is one of them. 

Ants v Carpenter Ants

Some people might mistake carpenter ants, also known as termites, for the average ants that they encounter on a daily basis. Thus, we’re enumerating some common facts about carpenter ants so that people may avoid them.

  1. Carpenter ants have a wider waist. Ants don’t.

  2. Carpenter ants also have antennae that are straight. Ant antennae are dented.

  3. Lastly, carpenter ants are of white or yellow color.

  4. The jaws of an ant are much smaller than the jaws of a carpenter ant.

Bullet Ants and Fire Ants

There is a misconception that bullet ants and fire ants might resemble those two objects. Their bites (as they are venomous) areas if you got hit by a bullet or caught fire.

Trap-laying Ants

The Allomerus decemarticulatus kind of ants are found in the Amazon and are known for some unique skills. These guys will make very elaborate types of traps that will have numerous holes. Once an unsuspecting insect steps onto one of the traps, numerous ants will leave those holes, ready to devour their target alive.

Medic” Ants

You thought that army ant sounded a bit strange? Ants and carpenter ants don’t have a particularly “great” history with each other. However, scientists have discovered a unique type of ants in sub-Saharan Africa, who will take their wounded out during a war with carpenter ants. 

These guys are called “medic” or “paramedic” ants. Unless you thought that army ants sounded a bit strange, well, read on because there’s more. Some carpenter ants will deliberately cling to an ant to slow it down, so the ant could be killed by a nearby spider.

There’s more, though. During ants versus carpenter ant battles, carpenter ants will attack the limbs and even heads of the megaponera analis ants. But medic ants will immediately rescue their comrades to patch them up for a later raid/battle. The colonies of megaponera analis ants are 30% bigger than a regular ants’ colony. 

Ants Being Prisoners of War!

Some ants capture their defeated enemy (who are still in their eggs) after a battle is over. These babies will be later used in the colony of their victors as slave labor. The honeypot ant might not just make other ants its slaves but will go as far as to enslave its kind!

Predators

The most common enemies of ants are other ants. Some mammals also eat ants, such as bears, coyotes, and anteaters. Other than them, some birds like sparrows, grouse, and starling eat ants. Similarly, insects like the black widow spiders, jumping spiders, phorid flies, and antlions will also eat them.

Antlions, in particular, are very aggressive with defending their young and will dig traps so an ant may be trapped in it, to be eaten later.

Other insects such as the paussines beetle (also called the ant nest beetle), the oogpister beetle, liphyra caterpillars, and the Alcon blue butterfly consume ants. 

The Alcon butterfly will lay eggs that will initially feed off leaves. that the ants will think are their people, as the exterior will resemble that of an ants egg. However, once they have spent some time eating those leaves, they will drop to the ground and pick them up by ants. 

Some reptiles, such as snakes and lizards, also eat ants. Snails and other hard-shelled organisms will consume ants too.

A Colony with Multiple Queen Ants

Anoplolepis gracilipes is a type that is more commonly referred to as the crazy yellow ants. This type is known to build supercolonies where multiple queens will be living in the exact location. 

One can easily imagine that the number of worker ants in these supercolonies can be in the thousands. They are found on Christmas Island, which is a part of Australia. 

 

Crab-killer Ants

The same crazy yellow and resembles in nefariousness to the Argentine ants. These guys will hunt down any unsuspecting lone crab that passes by their colonies on Christmas Island. 

Every year, the native crab population faces this risk as the crabs move from the forests deep in the island to the coast. Bear in mind that the crazy yellow ants accidentally ended up on the island at the start of the twentieth century. 

Life Cycle of Ants

The life cycle of ants is divided into four stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Fertilized eggs produce female ants; they may be queens, soldiers, or workers. Unfertilized ones have male ants.

Moreover, like other insects (i.e., flies, butterflies, beetles, etc.), ants undergo complete metamorphosis into four life stages. This whole process can take 60 days at most to complete. Following is the ants’ life cycle process: 

This process of the queen ant getting a suitable mate is as such. The vast majority of the eggs laid hatch into worker ants. Though in a specific time of the year, the eggs will produce ore queens and even male ants. 

The queens will then fly off for a nuptial flight, and the males that mate with them will not be able to survive the flight, falling to the ground and becoming food for other insects and animals in the process. 

The queen will then land in a place she deems safe to lay all the eggs. As she has no worker ants right now to defend her, she will be alone. The wings will be torn apart by her as she doesn’t have to fly again, ever. After all, this does the journey start with the eggs becoming ants themselves.

Egg Stage

The eggs are tiny and shaped like ovals. Usually, they will be barely a millimeter long, but the queen’s egg is many times larger. 

Larvae Stage 

At this stage, the egg transforms into larvae. A single larva proliferates that it sheds its skin many times in this phase. This phase is between 7 to 14 days.

Pupae Stage 

Pupae is the third stage of the ant’s life cycle and the final gestation period as it ranges from 6 to 10 weeks. The pupae of some species of ants have a protective cocoon, and others remain uncovered.

Adulthood

It is the last stage. Once the adult comes out of its pupae, it is fully formed and ready to live its life.

Benefits to Ecosystem

They have a lot of benefits that have been compiled here using help from the Harvard Forest.

Ants aerate the soil, which is helpful for plants. This helps in water and oxygen getting to the roots of the plants (if any are nearby). Moreover, they also are beneficial in fertilizing plants and helping with pollination.  

Ants are also helpful in cleaning any spilled food on the floor by eating some of it and carefully carrying the remainder outside. 

Ants are beneficial in many ways. They act as decomposers, decomposing organic waste, dead animals, or insects. Carpenter ants keep the environment clean. But this same type of ants will also make smooth holes and tunnels in wooden furniture that you might have. 

Carpenter ants though also make their nests in diseased or dead wood, accelerating the decomposition process. 

By building these three-dimensional fortresses below the ground for their living, they aerate the soil. They eat up elaiosomes (part of the seed), and the remaining seeds often sprout and grow into new plants. 

Ants have a nutritional value between 39.79% to 44.64% proteins and about 42.07% to 49.77% fat content. Consuming them will also give you iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus. However, we would strictly advise you not to go around consuming any kinds of ants.

However, most ant species are safe to eat but should be killed first so that they won’t bite you. You should know ants that which species are harmful and which are not.

Many ant species contain venom like fire ants. Eating the red ants cures acidity and enhances eyesight.

Similarly, the eggs of ants help to prevent sunstroke by cooling the body. By eating ants, you can boost up your stamina and regulate low blood pressure. Ants also decrease greenhouse gas discharges which contaminate the weather. Cholesterol levels can also be controlled by consuming ants. 

It also serves as a natural remedy to treat gout illness. Patients suffering from gout disease, if they consume ants, can help the body to defend against infections. 

Ants are also known to contain cancer prevention agents that can help the body battle any illness that assaults the body.

Drawbacks of Ants

Ants are also harmful to the ecosystem, as they can damage property. Certain ant species such as carpenter ant can damage your wooden structure. Moreover, ants can be dangerous to our health because they carry harmful bacteria which can make us ill, and many ants are nasty, like the fire ant, bulldog ant, and bullet ant.

 

How to Keep Ants far from Your House?

If you are afraid about your house being invaded by ants, take some cinnamon and put some of it around your home. As ants can detect food from a great distance away, their ability will be hampered by the cinnamon, keeping them out.