Ants are smart, six-legged creatures found in almost every part of the world. In the U.S., there are over 1,000 ant species known, but only a few are usually seen as a concern for humans and businesses.
With spring around the corner, ant season is upon us. Understanding how these strong, organized creatures behave can help to resolve persistent ant issues. If you are experiencing an ant problem in your business, consider these five impressive ant facts as you think about solutions.
1. Ants teach what they learn to other ants
Like humans, primates, and other species of intellect, teacher-student relationships are often observed in ants. Many animals can learn behaviors by imitation, but more experienced ants will use pheromones, biological chemicals that trigger a response in others members of the species, to teach other ants. For example, ants may use pheromones to teach the way to an around a new home, stopping every few steps, allowing the ant behind it to look around and memorize landmarks, and new colony movements (also called “budding”).
2. Ants operate like a business
Ants belong to a hierarchical social structure and work together as a group. Each ant has a specific job in a colony. Their jobs are determined – such as queen, soldier, worker or drone – and can be changed by age. As ants grow older, their jobs move them further from the queen, or center of the colony.
3. Ants also can be farmers
Besides humans, ants are the only creatures which will farm other creatures. The most common occurrence is with aphids, scale bugs, and mealy bugs. Ants will protect them from predators, and shelter them in their nests from heavy rain showers in exchange for a constant supply of honeydew.
4. Ants can be waterproof
Ants survive in water by building their version of a ‘lifeboat’ and can float for long periods of time to survive floods.
Even once underwater, they can still survive. How? Although ants do not have lungs, they breathe through small holes around the body called ‘spiracles.’ So, if the water evaporates within 24 hours and there is enough oxygen flowing through these holes, the ant can breathe again and come back to life.
Watch THIS video to see fire ants use their bodies to make a living raft!
5. Ants have super strength
A single ant can carry objects 10 – 50 times their body weight, which makes ants the world’s’ strongest creatures in relation to their size. Some ants can survive even with damaged parts of their bodies, and some can last for weeks without food or water.
Ants have proven to be amazing survivors, working as a collective “super mind”, using information from all colony members to find the best place to nest or to find food.
Such smart behavior and collective work can make ants a common pest for businesses across the world. Ensuring you’ve identified the right species is critical in order to assess their potential danger to you or your business.
Learn more about what a common ant looks like, and how to prevent them to enter your facility with our Tips for the prevention of common ants.