DTY Ants
The Ant: A Fascinating & Pervasive Pest

While they may be seen primarily as a nuisance, ants really are challenging and interesting creatures. The more that pest control professionals know about ants, the better they can respect, understand and effectively eliminate them from homes and businesses. The following are some interesting facts about ants that may surprise you.

Ant Physiology and Anatomy:

  • The average human weighs about 10 million times as much as an ant, yet it’s estimated that all the ants in the world weigh just as much as all the humans in the world. Obviously, ants outnumber us considerably.
  • Ants have geniculate (elbowed) antennae, that are used to detect a broad range of chemical smells.
  • Ants cannot eat solid foods. The solid foods they collect are digested by their developing larvae.
  • Ant colonies produce winged reproductive males and females once per year. The male’s sole role in an ant colony is for reproduction, after which they soon expire.
  • Ants are thought to have developed from ancient solitary wasps.
  • Ants possess disinfecting glands, that help the colony to remain disease-free. In fact, ants are studied for their antibiotic capabilities.
  • The foraging worker ants we see are all sterile females.
  • Killing an ant colony by killing the worker ants is nearly impossible, because the foraging workers observed represent less that about 10 percent of the total colony population.
Ant Behavior:

  • Ants follow chemical, or pheromone, trails. These trails can last a long time, and only one milligram of pheromone is enough for ants to circle the earth three times.
  • Ants communicate with each other via various means, including vision, vibrations and touch, but about 90 percent of this communication is chemical (via pheromone trails).
  • Chemical scents are how ants distinguish their colony members from outsiders.
  • Mapped out, foraging ants may appear to wander in a haphazard fashion when searching for food. However, once an acceptable food resource is found, the foraging ant then takes a direct path back to the colony.
  • Ants can control the temperatures within their colonies by constructing mounds that provide insulation. To increase the temperature, the ants will sun themselves to warm their bodies. They then crawl back into the mound to increase the temperature therein.
  • Ants enjoy beneficial relationships with other species, including aphids and caterpillars.
  • Certain spider species mimic ants to take advantage by feeding upon them in various ways.

Different Ant Species:

  • Since their introduction from South America into the United States in the late 1920s, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is responsible for more than 100 human deaths.
  • Certain species of ants can successfully forage, even in the Sahara Desert, where temperatures exceed 130°F.
  • Leafcutter ants (Atta and Acromyrmex spp.) work as farmers. They cut out sections of leaves from which they grow a fungus to feed upon.
  • Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) and odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) may forage as far as 300 feet or more from their colony.
  • Army ant (Formicidae) colonies are a like-minded mob which are capable of destroying larger prey due to their organized and cooperative behavior.

Get Effective Ant Control with NAVIGATOR SC®
While ants may be fascinating creatures, your customers don’t want them infesting their homes or businesses. That’s when you can turn to NAVIGATOR® SC from AMVAC. NAVIGATOR SC quickly controls ants and other perimeter pests when applied to exterior surfaces and along foundations. Ants transfer its fast-acting active ingredient, fipronil, back to their nests, which destabilizes the colony and protects structures against future infestations. Learn more at amvac.com.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Ants by Dr. E. O. Wilson and others.

PMP’s Direct To You provides pest management professionals with educational refreshers on timely and critical topics essential to operational success. This content is not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice where you live. Look for the content-rich PMP Direct To You archives at mypmp.net/direct-to-you-archive.

This newsletter was produced by North Coast Media’s content marketing staff in collaboration with AMVAC.

Pest Management Professional is a property of North Coast Media, LLC.
1360 E. Ninth St., 10th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44114
© 2019 North Coast Media. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission.