Every child knows that ants are unpopular at picnics. Most adults are equally certain that they don't want ants marching through their homes or businesses. What else do you really know about these insects? Although they may be notoriously unwelcome, ants are fascinating creatures.
Surprising Facts About Ants
Ants may be common creatures that virtually everyone can recognize, but these social insects do have a few surprises up their sleeves. Consider these eight intriguing factoids:
- Ants are almost everywhere. Avoiding ants isn't easy. Scientists estimate that there may be up to 10 quadrillion ants living in the world at any one time. They live on every continent except Antarctica. A few remote islands don't have any native species of ants, but these intrepid insects have hitched rides with human travelers to settle there.
- There are undiscovered ants. More than 12,000 known species of ants have been logged, but experts believe that there may be some 22,000 different species in existence.
- Ants don't have ears. Instead of ears, they have special sensors in their knees and feet that allow them to interpret vibrations in the ground.
- Weight lifters have nothing on ants. If a human could lift 10 times their own body weight, then a 200-pound man would be able to lift a small car. Depending on their species, ants can heft 10-20 times their weight.
- One ant species is all about girl power. Found in parts of Central America and South America, the M. smithii species seems to be exclusively female. For offspring, the queen reproduces asexually by cloning herself.
- Ant colonies come in all sizes. While the average ant colony is comprised of thousands of ants, some colonies include only a few dozen members. At the other extreme, super colonies have been discovered in Australia, Japan, southern Europe and the United States that contain more than 300 million members.
- Ants are lacking in lung power. In fact, ants don't have lungs. They breathe through tiny holes all over their bodies that allow oxygen to enter and carbon dioxide to exit.
- Among insects, ants have the longest lifespan. Queen ants can live up to 30 years, but the lifespan among ants varies widely. Worker ants tend to live between one and three years. For male drones, a few weeks is the norm.
Although ants are intriguing insects, their presence in a home or business is problematic. Eliminating an ant infestation isn't easy, but the pest control professionals at Terminix of West Michigan can get the job done right. Contact us today to learn more about our services or request a quote.