The Life of Ants – Part 1 In cold areas, like winter in the United States, ground can be frozen for several months. It can be a tough location for some animals to live, like ants. But still, you could see some hills still erected and intact. Under the mound, there’s a space protected from the cool weather, where ants sleep. There are lots of passageways and chambers. Ants do hibernate, especially during winter. You would be surprised to know this. There are 12,000 species of ants across the globe and these insects can bring things 20 times heavier that its own body weight. When the temperature increases, these little creatures come up and dwell the standpoint. If you’ve seen a bullet ant, it’s 1.2 inches in length, making it the biggest ant species ever listed. Changes in the weather stimulate ants. And, when it’s hot out there, they come to life. In the forest, some of the ant hills are self-reliant colonies; while others are connected to a wide super colony. The ants are amazing because they can survive the cold season. They have a fascinating central warming method. How is that? The decomposing vegetation that they collected prevents them from chilling inside their nest. Here’s another concept that will marvel you. During daytime, when sun is present and it’s not cloudy. You would see numerous ants roaming around their hills back and forth. You wouldn’t notice but there’s alternation going on there. Some ants from below the surface comes up and those that are on the ground with warm body already goes inside their nest. By this method, the ant with warm body helps in heating their nest. What a brilliant idea, isn’t it? That’s what you call “cooperation”. Interestingly, the ultraviolet rays of the sun protects their body from fungi or illness. What’s indeed exceptional is that there’s a queen inside the hill. Her body is double the size among the other ants. As a queen, she’s the integral member of colony that they are protecting. In an ant colony, typically only one queen can be spotted. But, there would be some instances wherein there could be multiple queens. Each queen will produce eggs that will become the next stage of breeding ants. The only kind of ants that have wings are the males and the queens. Their wings are dedicated to help them perform an essential activity. And, it happens during mating season. On a side note, the worker ants pile up as much food as they can. During the winter, the ants stay inside the hill because the surface is covered by snow. After cold months, the Spring approaches. This season is when you’ll see the surroundings begin showing their wonderful colors. Also, during this period, the ant eggs have hatched already from six weeks of waiting. Typically, when an ant bites you, your skin gets irritated, swell and turns red. It because of the formic acid. Some ants can emit formic acid. It comes out from the tip of their abdomen. When the acid penetrates the shell of an ant it dissolves the surface, leaving the inside exposed to contaminants around. The outer layer of an ant is called exoskeleton. Stay away from ants that can squirt formic acid because when the substance reaches your eye, you will dislike and won’t forget the experience. Do you know that ants quarrel with ants of other colonies? They can detect rival ants from another family by smelling them. Once found out, they will fight with each other and defend their territory. Usually, when one detected a rival ant, it goes back to its territory to call the other ants for a defense. When an ant started emitting formic acid, the rest of the gang smells the substance and they do the same. This usually happens when you disturb their territory. When a group of ants overpowered their rival, they collaborate to end the life of their opponent. When the victim is no longer breathing, they carry the body inside their nest. It has been known that ants eat their own kind. In fact, most types of insects. Actually, if you are in the middle of ant war, you could smell the acid. Interestingly, ant war lasts for more than one week. Do you know aphids? These are tiny bugs and live in colonies as well. Reproducing rapidly, they feed the sap by sucking the plant. Moreover, ants don’t harm nor eat them. Why is that? Aphids are beneficial for ants. Instead of ants eating aphids, ants feast on the honeydew that aphids excrete. The abdomen of an ant is like a sack. They fill it with food they can find around. When their abdomen is already full, they go back to their nest and support the colony for their needs. Speaking of honeydew, it’s vital for ants. Why? According to experts, this substance can help ants to rise heat in their body. Here’s another interesting fact. When you get the chance to see what’s inside of some ant hills, you will discover that it has presence of resin bits. By the way, resin is something that comes out when you break a branch of a cone-bearing tree. The tree uses this substance to protect and cover its injured part. Experts found out that ants are not eating the resins. Instead, they use it against disease. It becomes an antibacterial once the ants mix it with their acid. They need to do it to protect the ant eggs from fungi. There’s really so many things we can learn from ants. When the eggs of ants hatch, the larvae emerge. When they reach adult stage, they create silk cocoons. They are like butterflies that undergo metamorphosis. Now, let’s talk about the males and queen ants. When they become adult, their wings become developed and they will be able to fly and roam outside. When it’s breeding period, both males and queens fly and gather around to do one thing. That is for the males to mate and fertilize the queen ants. Here’s what happens. Queen ants stay on plants and release a substance, called pheromones, that when the male ant smells, they go crazy and become excited to mate. Sad to say, but, when the activity is done, the male ant dies after few hours due to tiredness. Moreover, after the activity and the queen ants get fertilized, they do their best to remove their wings, since it’s no longer needed for the next chapter of their life. They go back inside the chamber and soon they will lay thousands of eggs that will become future worker, male, and queen ants. Please like and subscribe. Thanks.