Many people think of and refer to groups of ants as “armies,” perhaps because they seem to diligently keep to a straight line when in pursuit of some necessity. Have you ever wondered what causes these little insects to march so dutifully? The answer may cause you to rethink much of what you thought you knew about ants. Consider a few key facts that may help you better understand these social critters so that you can appreciate them from afar while keeping ants out of your home.
Communication Between Ants
Many people may be surprised to learn that ants have their own language of sorts. In fact, they can communicate with others in several different manners. First, ants make sounds using their legs that other ants, though not humans, can hear. Second, these insects sometimes bump into one another to pick up the other’s scent or share information about what either has eaten.
It is a third type of communication, however, that enables ants to faithfully follow one another in line: pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that each ant can both release and detect. Impressively, any given ant may have as many as 20 different pheromones at its disposal and many of these may be distinct from those of other species. Because each insect can use its antennae to sense the pheromones its neighbours leave behind, these chemicals provide ants with an unmistakable trail to follow as they travel to a new site that offers food or ideal nesting grounds. Pheromones can even alert a colony of ants to the nearness of different predators. Unfortunately, this may debunk the common perception of these critters as being a highly organized army of individuals that simply “know” where they are going.
While ants may not be as well-informed as they seem at first glance, they do interact with one another through a somewhat complex set of social rules. Like bees, ants divide their communities into three main roles: drones, workers and queens. Each colony has a single queen who is responsible for laying the next generation’s eggs. Drones, for their part, mate with the queen. Workers, who are all females, are the ones who leave the nest in search of food and new nesting sites.
Risks Posed by Ants
Despite being quite interesting, ants do not usually make good houseguests. For one thing, many ants have a diverse diet, making it likely that they will contaminate various food items throughout your home. They may also create problems when they nest, leaving messes in the nooks and crannies throughout your home. In the worst case scenario, you may encounter carpenter ants who damage furniture or structural elements in your home by digging out tunnels in the wood. Some digging ants may even harm the vegetation in your yard by covering the plants up with piles of dirt or baring their roots.
Keeping Your Home Ant-Free
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of ants entering your home. At Truly Nolen Canada, we recommend that homeowners carefully seal up any gaps or holes that may allow insects to enter the house from outside. To deter carpenter ants, keep long branches and firewood well away from the siding of your home. Additionally, replace any wooden materials that are starting to rot, such as boards within your deck or around your windows.
At times, ants may find their way into your space even when you take all the right precautions. In these situations, it’s best to reach out to professionals who specialize in pest control. After all, these tiny critters can be hard to spot and hard to get rid of, especially considering the fact that they multiply quickly. If you are experiencing an ant infestation of any kind, give your local Truly Nolen a call to learn more about our ant and pest removal services.