Ants are insects with a slender waist, elbowed antennae. Ant is social showing a very high level of social organization wherein a single female produces offspring and the non-reproductive individuals of the social care for the young ones in the colonies. The ants are believed to have evolved 140 million years ago from the wasps and consist of more than 22,000 species out of which on 12500 have been yet classified.
Ants are found everywhere except Antarctica mainly because of their social organization and their ability to adapt to their environment. It is interesting to note that ants live in colonies and each colony of ants is a house to half a million ants comprising of queens(living up to 15 years) and worker ants (living up to 7 years).
Types of Ants:
1. Argentine Ants
This species of ant is native to Argentina and Brazil and is also found in some other places like California, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington. They are approximate of the size 1/16″ to 1/4″ and either segmented or oval in shape with dark brown to black and shiny body. They are 6 legged pants. They have an antenna and prefer to eat sweet substances including meats, eggs, oils, and fats. They are very smart ants as when they are foraging for food; they leave pheromone trails everywhere they go, instead of just from nest to food source to ensure that they save time by not visiting the same area twice.
Generally, it is the worker ant that is mainly responsible for gathering food for all but in this species of ants, even queens help in finding food. Argentina ants make colonies very close to the food source and many times build colonies which can grow to big sizes covering almost the entire garden etc. These ants do not cause any health threat, but they can contaminate food by leaving their bodily waste on the food.
2. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants get their name because they build their nests in wood. Each carpenter ants colony is established by a single, fertilized queen who first starts her nest in a cavity in the wood, where she raises her first brood of workers. One colony of carpenter ants will have 2000 or more workers in it. Carpenter queen feeds them saliva and does not leave the nest or feed herself while she is raising her first brood of workers who will later get the job of feeding the next generation. These ants are of 5/8″ size with oval shape and range from red to black color.
They don’t eat wood that they remove while making their nests but keep it outside entrances to the colony in small piles. The carpenter ants have a very interesting diet which includes living and dead insects, meat, fats, and sugary foods of all kinds. Carpenter ants are not a carrier of any disease, but when building a nest inside a home, they dig smooth tunnels inside the wood which weakens the wooden structures in the building which will be expensive to repair.
3. Odorous House Ants
Odorous ant gets this name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smells that it gives off when crushed. These ants are very social and live in colonies of up to 100,000 members. Each ant size ranges from 1/16″ to 1/8″ and is segmented with an oval 6 legged body of brown or black color. These ants eat dead insects and sugary sweets. These ants make their nests in exposed soil, under stones, logs, mulch, wall, floor cracks, debris, and other items. Though Odorous house ants do not pose a threat to health, they can contaminate food by leaving waste behind.
4. Pavement Ants
Pavements ants are so-called because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavements and can continue to live inside with a family of 30,000 to 4,000 members and many queens in it. They have segmented oval bodies with dark brown to a black color and are of 1/8″ size. These ants will eat anything and everything including insects, grease, seeds, honey, bread, meats, nuts, and cheese. They commonly make their nests in the soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways and inside a building, they make their nest under a building’s foundation and within hollow foundation walls. There are health hazards related to them but they can contaminate food by leaving waste behind.
5. Red Imported Fire Ant
Red imported fire ants are more aggressive than any other ant species and cause pain when they sting a person and hence these ants and their mound nests should be highly avoided. These ants can adapt to all kinds of climates and if water enters their nests then, they will come together and form a huge ball or raft which enables them to float on the water and survive such conditions. Interesting isn’t!!
These ants are dark reddish-brown segmented with the oval body of the size of 1/8″ to 3/8″ and they build their nests in mounds of soil outdoors, in landscape areas or near a building’s foundation. At times they enter buildings, houses, etc. through holes or cracks in walls and foundations.
It is highly important to ensure that these ants are not found anywhere in your gardens, residential and commercial places as their sting is very painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white blister and in cases where a person is allergic to insect stings the reaction will be more severe, hence pest control for ants must be done.
Life Cycle of Ants:
Egg, larva, pupa, and adult are the four stages of an ant life cycle. The life cycle of an ant takes 6 to 10 weeks to complete. Fertilized eggs produce female ants like queen, workers, or soldier ants while unfertilized eggs produce male ants. An ants egg is very tiny and oval and generally 1mm long and queens egg is bigger than 1mm. The larva of ants have no eyes and legs and they shed their skin many times to increase their size. After reaching a particular size they start spinning a silk-like cocoon around itself and undergo metamorphosis to become an adult ant. An adult ant either becomes a queen or a worker. Some queens live over 15 years and some workers up to 7 years.
Social Structure of Ants:
The social structure of ants comprises of the following:
Queen: The queen ant is both the founder and leader of the colony and her primary responsibility is to populate the colony by laying thousands of eggs. Very strategically the queen’s chambers are located deep within the ant colony in order to protect against predators. They live much longer than the drones and workers who serve her.
Drones: Drones are male ants. Their main function is to mate with the queen so she can lay her eggs and they die as soon as they’ve finished this function. They are never seen or very rarely seen outside the colony.
Workers: Worker ants are females and play no role in reproduction. They are responsible for building and maintaining the nest, protecting the colony from other ants, and, most importantly, gathering food to feed the colony. Worker ants search for food, gather it, and allocate food to ensure that the queen’s offspring will grow to fulfill their responsibilities to the colony. Worker ants are always working and are never idle.
- Ants can contaminate food because you don’t know where they’ve been foraging before crawling over your food and hence cause food poisoning.
- Ant bites though do not cause any harm but can be very itchy and cause immense discomfort.
- Ant infestation causes loss of reputation when guests and customers find ants crawling all over the house or business premises.
- It is time to call the team from RPA pest control who specialize in ants control and treatment for your residential and commercial premises.
- Ants can lift the weight which is 20 times more than their body weight.
- Ants don’t have ears. What they hear through their feet by feeling vibrations.
- Ants don’t have lungs and they breathe through tiny holes on their body through oxygen enters and carbon dioxide leaves.
- Whenever the queen of the colony dies, the colony also becomes dead because there is no other queen to reproduce and worker ants don’t reproduce.
If you notice ants in your residential and commercial premises and require ants control treatment, it is time to call the team from RPA Pest Control Services. Call us on 7827144714 / 8318145337 if you see the above indications