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Everything You Need To Know About Ants

Ants are one of the most common household pests in Missouri. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any less annoying when they enter your home. Once ants have found their way in, homeowners attempt a variety of different methods to get rid of them. In order to truly eradicate ants, you must first understand their social structure and how they live. Below are some common questions and answers about these pesky insects. Understanding them can help you eradicate ants from your home once and for all. 

How Many Queen Ants Are In A Colony?

Some ants have more than one queen in their colonies. These are known as polygene colonies. More commonly, ant colonies are monogyne, meaning they have only one queen ant. 

Colonies will typically have more than one queen ant when the colony is new. This allows the ants to produce more offspring. Once a colony is developed though, the worker ants will typically kill additional queens until only one remain. Sometimes, they may kill the only queen as well, which eventually eliminates the entire colony. 

What Do Ants Eat?

Ants have a very diverse diet. While ants are omnivores, some species of ants prefer one type of food over others. Some ants eat animals, often other species of ants. Certain ants prefer protein such as meat and will look for it in small animals. Usually, when this is the case, ants will feed on dead or decaying animals. Dairying ants will keep a farm of aphids, tiny insects that destroy gardens. The ants will protect these farms from other animals and will milk the aphids for honeydew, a sweet substance aphids produce. 

Whatever the source of food is for a particular colony, worker ants will forage for it. As they do, they’ll leave a trail of pheromones for other ants to follow, so the food is easily found in the future. 

How Much Can An Ant Lift?

It’s been said that ants can lift up to twice their body weight. However, it’s much more than that. In fact, ants can carry up to 50 times their body weight. This is due to the fact that ants are so small. Their muscles are thicker, which means they can produce more force pound-for-pound. 

Do Ants Have Wings?

Certain ants develop wings, also called alates, in their reproductive stage. The wings allow the ants to fly, and they mate while in flight. Although these ants swarm in certain areas during this nuptial flight, they pose no harm to humans. After mating, the male will die. The females, now fertilized, will continue to fly, looking for a suitable place to nest. After finding an appropriate colony site, the female will settle there and shed her wings. As the queen begins to build the colony, she will use the wings, and the muscles she used to move them, as a food source until worker ants can start bringing her food.

Do Ants Bite Or Sting?

All ants have the ability to bite. Most will only do so when they feel threatened. After biting in defense, an ant will also sometimes spray a chemical onto the bite site to inflict further pain. Fire ants, on the other hand, bite only to get a grip. Once attached to the threat, these ants then use their stinger to inject venom into the threat or prey. 

A few species of ants that sting include:

  • Red imported fire ants
  • Acrobat ants
  • Harvester ants

Ants that bite include:

  • Field ants
  • Crazy ants
  • Carpenter ants

These are some of the most common ants in Missouri that bite or sting.

How Do Ants Communicate?

Ant colonies are extremely large, sometimes consisting of millions of worker ants. Of course, ants can’t speak and so, many wonder how the ants communicate with one another. They have a number of ways of doing so.

  • Scent: An ant’s antennas are a big part of their communication. These antennae allow ants to smell the pheromones left behind by other ants in their colony. These pheromones are specialized, with each communicating something different to the other ants. One pheromone cocktail may lead the way to a food source, while another may indicate a predator nearby. 
  • Touch: Ants often communicate simply by moving their bodies, or by touching their antennae to another ant’s antennae. In doing so, one ant can tell another what type of food is at the end of the trail. Sometimes, ants will even give other ants a sample of the food they are carrying so the other workers can better identify it. 
  • Sounds: Ants make sounds by rubbing their legs on a part of their body similar to a washboard. This sound is often too low for humans to hear, but other ants certainly can. Ants often communicate in this manner if they have become trapped, as pheromones will not help other ants find them if a tunnel or chamber has collapsed. 

Ants are much more complex than humans often give them credit for. The varying ways in which they communicate with each other is just one example of this. 

Do You Have Ants? Call A Missouri Pest Control Company

Ant colonies are very large, which makes them difficult to get rid of if they’ve found a way into or around your home. If you have an ant problem, you need a St. Charles pest control company that can help. At Amco Ranger, we can easily eliminate ants from your home, and any other pests you may have, too. Call us today at (636) 441-2847 to schedule your free inspection and learn more about how we can help.