Ants. They’re the merciless little invaders that disrupt our picnics, backyard BBQs, and find their way into our homes. Somehow, it seems like they always manage to infiltrate even the most secure of food containers. However, despite their annoying habits, ants possess a wealth of characteristics that are truly astounding.
You’re in the right place if you’re curious about what sets these pests apart. The ant control experts at Stampede Pest Control are here to reveal 5 amazing facts you didn’t know about ants—and perhaps wish you didn’t know.
5 Amazing Facts About Ants
Ants are resilient, interesting little insects. Despite being increasingly common in the warmer months, they’re some of the hardest insects on the planet—surviving as a species for millions of years.
Fact # 1: The World is Swarming with Ants
Estimates suggest that there are around 10 quintillion ants on Earth. To put this number in perspective, there are about a million ants for every human. The total weight of all ants in the world could equal or even exceed the weight of all humans. Now that’s a lot of ants!
This astonishing figure is made possible by ants being social insects. They live in structured nest communities located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Ant colonies range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organized colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals.
Fact # 2: Ants Breathe Without Lungs
Due to their tiny size, ants lack the space to accommodate a complex respiratory system like ours.
So, how do they breathe?
Ants have a series of holes, called spiracles, along the sides of their bodies. These spiracles connect to a network of tubes that distribute oxygen to nearly every cell in the body. Ants’ movement aids in circulating oxygen through these tubes and expelling carbon dioxide.
Interestingly, this lack of lungs also means that ants can’t breathe if they are moving quickly. For an ant, running is like holding its breath. Furthermore, this unique respiratory system allows ants to survive underwater for 24 hours by trapping air in their spiracles. This fascinating fact highlights not only ants’ adaptability but also their resilience in various conditions.
Fact # 3: Ants Can Turn into Zombies
Here’s a fact that sounds like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie. A particular species of fungus can infect ants, take over their bodies, and turn them into zombies.
Once infected, the ant leaves its colony, finds a leaf, bites onto it for dear life, and dies. Days later, the fungus releases spores to infect more ants. Remarkably, some ant species have learned to recognize infected members and will remove them from the colony to prevent further infection.
The horror-story aspect of this phenomenon is amplified when you consider that the fungus, known as Ophiocordyceps, is so sophisticated it can control the ant’s behavior to increase its chances of spreading. It manipulates the ant into dying in a location that provides the perfect conditions for the fungus to grow and reproduce.
Fact # 4: Ants Possess Incredible Strength
Witnessing an ant carry a chip or piece of food several times its size is a testament to its exceptional strength. Imagine a 150-pound person carrying 7,500 pounds!
Some ants, like the Asian weaver ant, can reportedly lift up to 100 times their weight. This impressive strength is due to their muscles being thicker in proportion to their body size than larger animals.
This disproportionate strength is also seen in ants’ jaws. An ant’s jaw can snap shut 1000 times faster than the blink of an eye, creating a force up to 300 times its body weight. Their jaw force isn’t just about strength but speed as well. This combination of power and speed helps ants in defense, predation, and even catapulting themselves out of danger.
Fact # 5: Ants Existed Alongside Dinosaurs
Researchers from Harvard and Florida State Universities found that ants first appeared around 130 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. This means ants have survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, which wiped out the dinosaurs and the ice age. Ants have certainly stood the test of time!
As you can see, ants are far more than just common pests. And perhaps that’s why they’re so hard to get rid of.
They’re surprisingly strong and have survived alongside some of the earth’s most formidable prehistoric creatures. Obviously, we understand you’d prefer to keep them outside of your home. Contact our team at Stampede Pest Control today for expert advice and solutions on controlling ants effectively—we even ensure a 100% satisfaction guarantee.