When I was a kid, I made my own ant farm. I filled a large glass jar with dirt and went hunting for local ants. Since I never caught a Queen ant, it didn’t exactly thrive. Eventually, as with most things, I lost interest and moved on. There are, however, those who have made the study of ants a lifelong career.
Close. The study of ants is called myrmecology. Myrmec meaning “ant”, -ology meaning “knowledge”. This is a branch of entomology, the study of insects in general. Ants are given their own category due to the size and variety. There are over 4,500 known species of ants!
While ants are known to eat any food they can bring back to the nest, studies have shown that ants prefer sweet foods. This may be attributed to the fact that sugar has proven to be as addicting as drugs.
Ants live in colonies, with a Queen, underground. The largest ant colony ever discovered was off the coast of Ishikari. 45,000 connected nests, covering 1.7 miles, housed over 300 million ants and 1 million queens.
The Insect Weight Lifting Competitors
In the blue corner, the ant comes prepared to lift 20 times its body weight. When heavier items need lifting, the ants will team up and carry it back together.
Ever wondered how ants make it through holes, or cracks while carrying items in a group? The ants who are empty (legged?) fill in the holes with their bodies, allowing the food carriers to walk over them.
When the ants find a food source, they release a trail of pheromones from the food to the colony, so other ants can go and retrieve more. Little wonder, the ants who gather the most food, are often the ones who breed the most.
R.S.V.P. for the Local Ant BBQ
While most ants collected food, and bring it back to the colony for consumption, the Dalmatie ant chews it’s find into round patties, and allows it to cook in the sun before bringing it home.
Oh Danny Ant, It’s You Must Go and I Must Bide
Worker ants live an average of 5 years, while queen ants can live for up to 25. Like many insects, ants are out and about more in the summer, risking life and limbs to collect and store for the harsh winter months. However, more ants die in the winter months, when food supplies run low and cold weather hits. The queen, eggs and many female workers manage to survive.