As pest control experts, we learn how to get into the mind of the pest menaces we encounter. We learn where they are most likely to be hiding in your home, and how to best eliminate them. Inside your home ants are a hassle, but outside of your home they are actually quite interesting. Here are some fun things we’ve discovered about ants.
Ants have been around since the time of dinosaurs
Years ago ants wandered the Earth during the Cretaceous period. That means they were sharing the world with the T-Rex and the triceratops.
And they were big back then
Not dinosaur big, (thankfully, nobody needs those nightmares) but compared to ants we have today they were huge. The largest ant species found is a fossilsed Titanomyrma giganteum. The queen was 2.4 inches long and had a wingspan of 5.9 inches.
There’s no escaping them
Ants can be found on every Earth landmass except Antarctica and some very remote islands. We know of 12,000 ant species, and estimates put it closer to 22,000 species out there.
Their numbers are unbelievable
Estimates put the number of ants alive at one time somewhere between one and ten quadrillion. For every one person on earth there are about 1 million ants. And the combined weight of all humans is equal to the combined weight of all ants in the world.
Ants talk to each other by using chemicals
Ever wonder how ants start a trail going from that crumb you dropped back to their nest? They’re using pheromones picked up by the ants’ antennae. When a forager ant discovers food they head back to the nest, leaving a trail of pheromones that his fellow buddies can follow right to the food. The more ants on the trail, the more intense the pheromone trail becomes. They’ll even explore new routes to create a multitude of paths to what they need.
Pheromones can also tell ants to determine what task group they belong to, and even signal when it’s time to start raising a new queen.
Ants are jacked
Some ant species are able to lift 10 to 50 times their body weight.
They are skilled in the art of deception
Ants also use pheromones to mess with enemy ants. Certain ant species have the ability to emit pheromones that confuse the enemy and cause them to fight amongst themselves.
And are known to become zombies on occasion
There is a fungus that, when it infects an ant, takes control of the ant. Soon after the infected ant leaves the colony, it will typically find a leaf, bite down on it, and eventually die. A few days after that the fungus releases spores to try and infect more ants.