Ants are so common that many of us don’t take much notice of them–unless they start taking over the house. Then, we might call a local ant pest control service. But otherwise, ants are mostly unobtrusive, busily scurrying from nest to food sites. Here are some facts about these tiny little insects that you might not know.
Ants can lift up to 50 times their own weight.
Have you ever seen a moving chip, then looked closer and realized there was an ant carrying it? If a 150-pound person did that, they’d be carrying 7,500 pounds! The Asian weaver ant is said to lift up to 100 times its weight. How’s that for blowing the weightlifting championship? Ants can do this because their muscles are thicker in proportion to their body size than larger animals.
Queen ants can have millions of babies.
The sole job description of a queen ant is to reproduce. And reproduce she does. Once established in a colony, a queen ant will reproduce continuously. Since ants can live up to 30 years, a queen can have millions of offspring. That’s when you definitely need to call pest control!
There is such a thing as ant slavery.
In some species, when an ant nest needs more workers, the workers perform a raid on another species of ants to get workers. Sometimes, worker ants are solely employed with raiding other ant colonies. They capture the larvae and pupae so they can raise the brood in their own nest. Another method is where a queen ant kills the queen of another colony and takes over the nest. These are called slave-making ants. Slave ants (also known as soldier ants) do all the work–feeding and grooming the queen and the larvae, gathering food, feeding their hosts, and defending the colony.
One ant colony is over 3,750 miles wide.
The Argentine ant is known for its ability to stage peaceful takeovers and establish supercolonies (the ant version of a large friendly social network). A supercolony in Europe was found to cover 3,750 miles. Normally, ants aren’t a huge threat, but in this case, the local crops and animals are in danger.
One ant is the world’s most venomous insect.
The Maricopa harvester ant in Arizona has a sting that can cause intense pain for up to four hours. It’s worse than the bee sting, with a strength equal to 12 honey bee stings. This vicious ant latches onto the victim and proceeds to sting and inject venom around the site.
Ants are fascinating, but not so fascinating when they’re in your kitchen carrying that chip or a carpenter ant, eating your family’s home. That’s why ant pest control exists–to help you keep ants outside where they belong.