ANTS

A Closer Look Into The Wondrous World Of Ants

Ants: An Introduction

Humans rely on ants in more ways than one but yet, these little critters are so often misunderstood and detested. Widely regarded as pests around the world, from the little critters that munch on your food to the angry red ants that bite in the fields, the presence of ants in our lives have been nothing but an annoyance. But there is a whole world of good that ants do that we do not see.

In actual fact, humans cannot survive without the existence of ants. We rely on ants to take care of agriculture so that we have food. We rely on ants to take care of pests. We rely on ants to ensure that the very ecosystem that we are a part of has continuity. These are but just some examples in which humans rely on ants to carry out invisible tasks that we benefit from unknowingly.

Life lessons and paradigms can also be learnt from ants. Intrinsic values like hardwork, teamwork and altruism can all be learnt just by observing ants in their day to day activities!

An amazing little known fact about ants: Ants all have two stomachs, one for their own consumption of food and the other for sharing! Yes you read that right, ants have an extra stomach where food is stored to be fed to other ants that are hungry!

As ants do not have ears, they communicate and cooperate effectively through chemicals called pheromones. Through these chemicals, simple messages are passed to alert other ants of the presence of food or danger. Individual ants will pick up these pheromone trails through their antenna to identify the messages sent by other ants and this is how ants communicate! The same method is employed to indicate pathways to food so this is how other ants know which way to travel to collect food. So the next time you see a long trail of ants travelling at home, you will know that they are following a pheromone path to food!

HOW DO ANTS HELP US?

HOW DO ANTS HELP US?
Ants help to aerate soil

When digging the tunnels of their nests, ants help to aerate the soil and this causes the roots of plants and trees to have enhanced exposure to water, oxygen and nutrition! This process also aids with decomposition and helps rainwater cycle through the earth.

Ants help to aerate soil

When digging the tunnels of their nests, ants help to aerate the soil and this causes the roots of plants and trees to have enhanced exposure to water, oxygen and nutrition! This process also aids with decomposition and helps rainwater cycle through the earth.

Ants help to germinate plants

Ants help in the germination of plants by dragging flowers and seeds into their nests and in doing so, place the seed in a nutrient rich environment that encourages growth! As some plants do not have effective methods of seed dispersal, ants actually help with the germination process effectively! Fruits and vegetables that we so often consume grow as a result of this germination process!

Ants help to germinate plants

Ants help in the germination of plants by dragging flowers and seeds into their nests and in doing so, place the seed in a nutrient rich environment that encourages growth! As some plants do not have effective methods of seed dispersal, ants actually help with the germination process effectively! Fruits and vegetables that we so often consume grow as a result of this germination process!

Ants get rid of pests

Ants are extremely effective at controlling the population of other pests like cockroaches and lizards! Besides feeding on other insects and their eggs, they also help in the removal of the dead carcasses. This helps greatly in reducing odour from decomposition and diseases that could have been carried!

Ants get rid of pests

Ants are extremely effective at controlling the population of other pests like cockroaches and lizards! Besides feeding on other insects and their eggs, they also help in the removal of the dead carcasses. This helps greatly in reducing odour from decomposition and diseases that could have been carried!

ANT-KEEPING

Ant-Keeping: An Introduction

Ant-keeping is a fun and relatively fuss free hobby that requires reasonably low maintenance and yet, could potentially keep you entertained for hours. But the thought of keeping ants at home tends to put us off a little. We have been conditioned to treat ants like pests but once these curious little creatures are placed in a formicarium (man-made ant nest) you’ll soon realize that that there is so much more than meets the eye!

Every single ant has a unique personality and behaves in entirely unique ways. Some are sluggish, some are alot more curious than others and some are extremely adventurous! You’ll be able to observe all these little quirks and more with your very own formicarium and colony of pet ants.

Life Cycle Of Ants: Worker Ants, Male Ants And Queen Ants

By observing the ants within your formicarium, you’ll be able to observe the entire life cycle of an ant! Ants develop from tiny little eggs laid by the queen and eventually hatch into three types of ants; female worker ants, male ants and queen ants!

These little worker ants, which are all female, will soon assume their roles in the colony and will begin to take care of the queen ant and the eggs, go out in search of food or in certain cases, become upsized soldier ants!

Male ants only exist to mate with other queen ants. Upon maturing, male ants develop wings and will fly off from the colony in search of other young queen ants to mate. Shortly after mating, the male ant dies.

Queen ants are fed more as larvae and will mature to develop wings. They too will fly off from the nest to find a male ant to mate with. Upon a successful mating ritual, the queen ant depending on species, would either lay her eggs on a leaf in the tree or burrow into the ground to lay her first batch of eggs. These eggs will later on hatch and grow into colonies!

 


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