Ants are very interesting. Have you ever seen a line of ants marching across the floor? Why do they do that? Even if you were to place obstacles in their way, they would just go around it, staying in line formation the entire time. Ants are used to living in close quarters to their nest-mates. Most ants can’t see and spend almost all of their entire life living in the dark. That makes it very important for them to find a way to identify each other and work with one another. This is beneficial to the entire colony.
Ant Communication with Pheromones
Almost all ant species use pheromones to communicate with each other. Pheromones are chemical markers they will use to alert others as to where the food is, for example. When a worker ant leaves the nest to look for food, they will leave a trail of these pheromones, so the others know where to go. As the ants travel back to the nest, they will leave another trail of pheromones. You can imagine how strong that trail of pheromones gets after a while! The thickness of the pheromone trail will let other ants know just how often that trail is traveled and therefore how dependable the food source at the end of it is.
Other Ways Ants Communicate with Each Other
While many ants use pheromones to communicate with one another, they have other ways as well. Most ants don’t have very good vision, making physical contact an important way in communicating and eliminating threats to their colony. Some ants will bump into each other. This bumping behavior may be done to let other ants know where a food source is or a good location for a nesting site. Ants will send out an explorer ant when they are looking for a new nesting site. These explorers will come back when they have found a good spot and use pheromones to let another explorer ant to check it out. If this ant agrees with the first one, the process will be repeated with the rest of the ants. When ant numbers increase, the ants will continue to bump one another to establish the new nesting site. When ants bump into each other, they smell one another to make sure they belong to the same colony. Ants are also very good at determining whether or not they’ve encountered an intruder through scent. Ants will also communicate with each other through sound. As tiny as they are, they can; you just won’t heat it. They do it by rubbing their legs on their bodies to create different sounds. For example, if an ant gets stuck in a tunnel, it can send out a distress signal to the other ants so they can find him. The next time you see ants bumping into each other, you may think they have poor navigational skills, but chances are they are letting other ants know where food is or if there is danger lying ahead.
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Like most other pests, ants can’t survive the rainy fall weather and even colder temperatures coming our way in winter. Ants need to stay warm and dry as well as need food and water. Unfortunately they can find food, water and shelter in our homes. Ants and other pests feel the hot air as it passes from your home outdoors, and follow it right in, releasing pheromones to other ants to follow. As interesting as ants are, they can become a real nuisance. Contact Five Star Termite & Pest Control the next time you see a trail of ants in your home.