Animals

Ants: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Ants facts like all ant species live in large colonies are interesting.
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Ants are one of the common insects found in all parts of the world. Ants thrive best in warmer climates and become inactive during the winter months.  Most species of ants are found in tropical forests. Ants make up more than half the population of all insects. The shape of species of ant looks similar but they differ in size, habits, diet.

Tiny but feisty, worker ants are the most hardworking insects known. They collect food, build ant colony walls, and keep the queen well-fed and protected. Worker ants build their colony by mixing soil and saliva and mound them together to make sturdy walls.

Ants are social insects. Ant colonies vary in population. Some ant species live by dozens and some in thousands. The smaller colonies are found in natural rock crevices, tree barks. The larger colonies are built as vast nests. Army of ants spends most of their days foraging for food. Such supercolonies are usually found in the United States, Japan, Australia, and southern Europe.

You may more ant facts and other fact files on yellow jacket wasps and mud dauber wasps.

Ants

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insect eggs, small insects

What do they eat?

Omnivore

Average litter size?

Carpenter ant: 20 eggs Pharaoh ant: 10 -12 eggs

How much do they weigh?

3.5-0.1 oz (1-5 mg)

How long are they?

0.08-1 in (0.2–2.5 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A


What do they look like?

Red, black, green, metallic tint

Skin Type

Hard, waterproof exoskeleton made of chitin

What are their main threats?

Humans

What is their conservation status?

Black-backed meadow ant – Vulnerable Black bog ant – Endangered Narrow-headed ant – Endangered

Where you'll find them

Warm regions

Locations

All continents except Antarctica

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Insecta

Scientific Name

Red imported fire ants - Solenopsis invicta Carpenter ants – Camponotus Banded Sugar ants - Camponotus consobrinus

Family

Formicidae

Genus

Total 300 genera (Azteca, Atta, Dorylinae, Apomyrma, and so on)

Ants Interesting Facts

What type of animal are ants?

Ants are small insects.

What class of animals do ants belong to?

Ants are eusocial insects. All ants belong to the family Formicidae and class Insecta.

How many ants are there in the world?

There are more than one million billion ants of more than 1200 species worldwide.

Where do ants live?

Ants live in all continents except Antarctica. Places like Greenland do not have any native species of ants but some species have arrived there with humans. Ants live in forests, mountains, moldy and moist wood. Carpenter ants are one of the most common ants found all over the world and prefer wetter environments. They build their nests in any moldy, moist, or damp wood, including firewood and tree stumps.

The odorous house ants get their name from the coconut-like scent that they give out when crushed. This ant species Native to the U.S build nests near homes. Being extremely social insects of the family Formicidae, they live in huge colonies. This species of ants build nests in exposed soil, and wall crevices, below stones, inside logs, debris, and similar things.

Pavement ants or sugar ants get their name from their favorite nesting spots in the crevices of pavements. They are mostly seen in the United States and Canada. A nesting site has three to four thousand workers and several queens in their colony. Red imported fire ants, Solenopsis Invicta, like to stay outdoors. They are usually spotted in parks, fields, meadows, and foundation sites.

What is ants' habitat?

These social insects living in structured communities build nests for laying eggs and keeping the queen ants safe. The workers work extremely hard foraging for food and gathering material for building the nest, while the queen ants have the task of laying eggs.

Plants, holes in rocks, moist ground, anything can be an ideal ground for an ant's nest. In colder areas ants become inactive in winter. They store food during the warmer months and remain in their nests all through the cold season. In tropical and other warmer climates, these social insects continue to be active throughout the year.

Argentine ant colonies are typically built in wet environments. They live in huge colonies and prefer staying close to food sources. This species builds shallow nests outdoors in damp locations. Pavement ants mostly prefer building colonies beneath cement or rock slabs, patios, hollow foundation walls, and driveways.

There are about twenty species of ants that live their lives in two distinct stages called nomad and stationary. Interestingly, during the nomadic phase that typically lasts during the day, these ants travel attacking other ant colonies for food. When it’s dark, they build a temporary nest to rest. They only remain stationary for a while when the queen lays eggs. The worker ants of the colony build a nest with their bodies to protect the queen. They collect food and wait for the eggs to hatch.

Carpenter ants get their name for their love of building nests in wood. Each colony of carpenter ants has a single, fertilized queen. She starts building the new nest and raises the initial brood of worker ants. While she does so, she never leaves the nest and feeds the workers her saliva. Once the first lot of worker ants is ready, they forage for food, build new nests and protect them. The colony grows considerably to more than two thousand worker ants.

Who do ants live with?

Ants never live a solitary life, a colony of ants may be small or big. Every colony has three kinds of ants - the queen, female workers, and male ants. Flying ants are regular ants with wings. The main difference between the queen and males from female workers in the presence of wings. Only the queen and the male ants have wings and the working females do not.

In every ant colony, only queen ants lay eggs. The main task of the male ants is to mate with the future queen ants. After they mate, the males die soon. On reaching adulthood, a queen spends her life laying eggs.

How long do ants live?

Depending on the species, ants may live for several weeks to many years.

How do they reproduce?

Only the queen is privileged to lay eggs in an ant colony. Other female ants are smaller in size, wingless, and are sterile. Also known as female workers, female ants take care of the eggs, look after the larva when the eggs hatch. They work as soldiers, and build nests and forage for food.

Female ants hatch from fertilized eggs and the males develop from unfertilized eggs. The males mate with the queen to fertilize their eggs. Males are ants with wings. They live for ten to fifteen days after mating. Males are tinier compared to worker females. Males can be recognized from their long antennae.

The four stages of an ant’s life cycle are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The eggs hatch into larvae in a couple of days after they are laid by the queen ant. The larvae are fed and groomed by female workers of the colony. They then go through the pupa stage for about a week. In the next stage of metamorphosis, an adult ant emerges.

One of the interesting ant facts is that within a few days only one queen can lay up to 300,000 eggs.

What is their conservation status?

Ants may have the largest populations but some species face the threat of extinction. Most species have a stable population and are of Least Concern. The black-backed meadow ant is an endangered species in the United Kingdom. The black bog ant and the narrow-headed ant are also endangered species according to the GB Red List.

Ants Fun Facts

What do ants look like?

Worker ants are extremely hardworking insects.

Ants of different species look different. The common feature that can help to identify them is the constriction between the abdomen and thorax. It appears like a narrow waist. An ant’s body is covered with a hard exoskeleton that protects the tiny animal. Ants are mostly black or red. Ants have six legs. They have three joints each. A large head with compound eyes is attached to the body. There are two elbowed antennae. Most ants have powerful jaws which they can also use for biting if threatened. Ants don't have ears.

How cute are they?

Ants can’t be called cute or cuddly. They are extremely small animals. Some species of ants like the red imported fire ants can be aggressive compared to others. This ant species and their nests should be carefully avoided. They have a painful sting. These ants can adapt to different environments and are found in a wide range. Extremely adaptable, these ants can strategically make a huge ball with their bodies placed together and float in water if required.

How do they communicate?

Ants don't have ears and they do not make sounds. These insects communicate using chemicals or pheromones. They can alert others of approaching danger or can lead them to food sources. They use pheromones to sense their nests and to detect the status of other ant nests.

How big are ants?

Compeered to the Titan beetle, the largest beetle in the world that has a body length of 6 in (15.2 cm), a common ant is smaller, with an average body length of 0.08 in (0.2 cm).

How fast can ants move?

The fastest ant species in the world is the desert-dwelling Saharan silver ant. They can move at the speed of 0.12miles per second or two hundred meters per second.

How much do ants weigh?

Ants are tiny insects with a body weight of only 3.5-0.1 oz (1-5 mg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male ants are called drones. There are two categories of female ants, queens, and worker ants.

What would you call baby ants?

A baby ant after birth is called a larva.

What do they eat?

Ants are omnivorous insects. Their diet includes fruits, milk of aphids, small insects, the sap of plants, and also insect eggs. Ants can carry loads that are more than 100 times their body weight.

Argentine ants prefer eating anything sweet including meats, eggs, and fats. Intelligently, when foraging for food, Argentine ants leave chemicals called pheromones everywhere so that they do not visit the same area again wasting their time.

Are they harmful?

One of the most commonly known ant facts is that all ants can bite. The tiny insects use their mandibles to pinch the skin and cause a painful sting. However, an ant bite is usually not dangerous. Ants are often considered pests and menace. According to the National Pest Management Association, ants are a concern for many American households. The National Pest Management Association advises people to control an ant infestation before they go out of hand.

Would they make a good pet?

Ants are small insects living in colonies and do not make good pets.

Did you know...

'Smarty Ants', inspired by ants, is a popular video game for kids that help in enhancing language skills in a fun way.

There are a lot of types of ants like fire ants, velvet ants, panda ants, and army ants in the world.

The bullet ants, native to the Amazon forest have the most painful sting.

Mycocepurus smithii is an exclusively female ant species without any males.

Some queen ants can live for fifteen years and have millions of babies in their lifetime.

Ants are believed to be a sign of good luck, symbolizing hard work, teamwork, and discipline.

Ants don’t have ears and cannot hear. They sense sounds by feeling vibrations with their feet.

Do ants sleep at all?

Worker ants take super quick naps all through the day. They take about 250, one-minute naps all through the day.

What to do if you find ants in your house?

Having ants in your home can be frustrating. Some important ant facts to remember are ants are an important part of the environment and the food chain. Some species like the Argentine ants do not pose direct health threats but may contaminate open food sources with their bodily waste. To prevent an infestation, keep a clean home, avoid standing water, keep the garden free of dead logs, preserve food in air-tight containers. Sealing cracks and crevices on walls and the ground can discourage ants from building nests in your home.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our atlas beetle facts and millipede facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable ant coloring pages.

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