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Social Behavior of Ants: 10 Important Facts About Ant Behavior

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Social Behavior of Ants

Harvard conducted a study that concluded that ants are older than dinosaurs and originated about 130 million years ago. They have survived the ice age, and the extinction and the social behavior of ants is something we should know, and in this article, we have compiled some interesting facts about this.

Social Behavior of Ants

Ant colony

Ant Colonies Have Rules And Regulation

The ant colony is an important thing you should know about before studying the social behavior of nats. The ant colony shows us how the ants live physically, and if we microscopically study this colony, we will find the rules and regulations the ants follow.

You can physically see them in the shape of anthills, but if you call what you see with your naked eye as the ant colony, then you are mistaken; it goes as deep as 30 ft, and down there, you will have a complex social structure to observed.

Ant Follow a Hierarchy

Social Behavior of Ants

Social Insects

In the ant colony, you will find different types of ants who have a specific function to do, and they have a hierarchy in the place.

First of all, there is the queen ant; the primary job of the queen ant is to populate the ant colony by laying thousands of eggs. The average life span of the queen ant is about 30 years, and it is the most giant ant in the territory, with wings. It has predators like the jumping spider so to protect it; the queen ant lives in the deepest chamber of the anthills.

Drones on the other hand, are male ants who help the queen ant to lay eggs by mating with her. As soon as they mate, the drone ants die.

Then comes the worker ants. The worker ants are females and you will seldom see a male worker ant. The job of the worker ant is to gather food for the colony and to feed the offspring of the queen ant, who later become drones or worker ants. The worker ants are also responsible for taking care of the construction, repair, and protection of an anthill.

Offsprings of the queen

The offsprings of the queen sometimes develop wings and they are called alates. They migrate from the anthill and try to create a new colony. For them, migration is easy because of their wings. A queen is chosen, workers are chosen, and drones are chosen; reproduction happens in the new society, which leads to migration and this cycle continues.

Threat to Humans

Social Behavior of Ants

Threat to Humans

The ant colonies are of different types, but the two distinct ant colonies that are a menace to humans are the fire ant colonies and the carpenter ant colonies.

The fire ant colonies consist of ants that are very aggressive, red in color, and out of control as their queen lays 1000 eggs each day, and getting rid of them is not easy. There have been reported deaths from the bites of fire ants, it is very rare but it has happened. It causes the throat to swell up, the body turns red and the person meets his or her fate.

Then there are these carpenter ants, whose ants build their colonies using wood and it is not easy getting rid of them, especially if they make their colonies in your home and getting rid of them is not simple and it can take half a decade to get rid of them completely.

Linked Super colonies

Social Behavior of Ants

Colonies of ants

Super colonies are ant colonies that are synced with each other despite being miles away from each other. The most common supercolonies are formed by the fire ant and it is one of the best examples of integration in insects and animals. Even humans can’t integrate as well as these ants do even though they are separated by a big distance. Every colony has its own set of ants with a queen and all of them work in cooperation for the betterment of each colony.

More Social Behavior Articles: Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Carpenter Sugary Ants Store Food

The carpenter ants can be called sugary ants. They work in a systematic way to get food out of your house into their colonies. If you ever squash a carpenter ant. You will see they have a sticky substance, and it is all the sugar they feed on. The carpenter ants also have multiple queens, but they live in the same nest and not miles away from each other, and a carpenter ant’s colony can be home to thousands of ants.

Ants Can Fly

Antlers in the warm and humid condition of July fly in search of mates (gynes). In a process called a nuptial flight, they mate. This is called the flying ant day, and thousands of ants do this process. People often confused such ants with other insects like termites because of their wings.

They Rely on Fat Stored in Their Body

After mating, the queen is said to go into the ant nest’s deepest parts and don’t eat for weeks and rely on the fat stores in their bodies. They only start to eat again when their daughter offsprings are able to bring them food. In this period, they store the sperm from many males and use this store throughout their whole life to lay eggs.

Ants Communicate through Vibration

Ants in a colony can synchronise their moves, and they use vibration to communicate with each other or sense food and danger. They have a special organ near their knee that help them sense vibration in the ground.

Slave Making

Social Behavior of Ants

Slavery in ants

Polyergus lucidus is a species of ants that invade other ant colonies to take ants as slaves, and then they make them work for them. They can decide to keep them forever or use them for a period of time and then release them.

Conclusion

Ants have a social structure at a place that is so complex that we would need thousands of pages to explain it, but these were some 10 handpicked facts about the social behavior of ants that can help you get a basic idea about them.

Article updated in May-2021.

I was brought up in Hamburg and learning English was always a fascinating thing for me as my neighbour was a big fan of Al-Pacino and watched his movies, I took inspiration from him and during my school time, I learnt this language. I slowly transitioned into the German News world as a content writer and have been writing ever since for reputable sites all over the internet.

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