We have a gazillion number of living creatures in this world of ours, many of which are enormous and hard to not notice while many still are so tiny that they can easily be overlooked. One such tiny yet very interesting insect is an ant. Did you know if an ant was an 8-year-old child, it would be able to lift up a car? It is one of the strongest creatures in relation to its size. That is correct, you are about to read fun facts about an ant. A very ordinary creature, you see almost daily and never give it a second glance unless to smack it away from your sandwich crumbs.
Most ants you see are female. Duuh, talk about female domination. Male ants are only there for helping to lay eggs. That puts the males in their place, doesn’t it?
An ant’s life begins as an egg which is as tiny as a full stop. They live in large groups called a colony.
Each colony has three kinds of ants, the queen who lays eggs, the female workers and the males. The queen and males have wings but the workers don’t have wings. It also has soldier ants that protect the queen and the colony and also gather food and attack enemy colonies.
Just like me, ants eat everything! From meat, fruits, vegetables, dead insects, cakes, everything! Well, maybe not the dead insects, yuck!
Ants don’t have ears, they feel vibrations in the ground through their feet and that is how they “hear”. Have you ever noticed one ant coming across another ant and they hug each other? That is their way of sharing news about food they have found on the way or anything happening in their colony.
My favourite thing about the ants are that they work best in teams. They think about their whole colony and not just themselves. So, if they find food, they head back to their nest and bring the rest of the army to help them carry it all back. Before I forget, they always leave a trail behind. Do you remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? How they left pebbles behind them so that they could find their way back home from the forest? Ants leave a smell of chemicals behind which is called pheromones trail so that other ants can follow the way. That is also the reason why they walk in a straight line.
Ants are found everywhere in the world except for Antarctica. They nest underground, inside trees or in walls and holes inside our homes and offices.
If you don’t like ants or if you want to keep away ants from your chocolate cake, put peppermint around it. They hate its smell and will not come near it ever. Even diluted vinegar can do the trick. They actually cannot tolerate strong smells hence they keep away. If you wipe your floor or kitchen counter with the diluted vinegar, the ants will catch the scent and keep away even if it is not discernable by humans after some time.
You will find ants in your house either because you have left yummy treats behind for them to come after or else it is very dry and hot outside and their water source has dried up. It is then they will look for a cooler area to nest and where they are also most likely to find water.
One might find it embarrassing to be caught with ants in their homes when they are entertaining guests. I mean, ants mean your house could be dirty, right? Not necessarily, though a dirty unorganized house would mean that the ants are more likely to find fallen tit bits here and there even clean homes are known to have ants visit from time to time.
Once, while waiting for a client, I saw a line of ants walking across the coffee table I was sitting at. The line went on and on and I could trace it all the way up the wall. It caught my attention and I bent closer for a better look. I saw the ants passing very tiny crumbs to each other along the line. I saw several diversions along their route, one line taking a left and another a right turn and then meeting up again and parting once more. Watching them was like meditating. It was peaceful. It made me realise that no matter how small an action might look for onlookers for you and for those who matter it might be a matter of survival or of great importance. I was almost disappointed when my client finally arrived for our meeting.
My readers might think me strange but there is many a time when I go in search of ants to see what these tiny beings are up to. They help pass the time in thought provoking ways.
It is commonly said busy as bees. I think ants keep themselves just as busy. Walking around whole day in search of food, feeding their huge army, protecting the colony is hard work!
By Ummehani Saifuddin