How do ants look like?
All types of ants consist of three parts, namely the head, the thorax and the abdomen. They have three pairs of legs. How big the ants are and what color they have depends on the kind of ant. Only the queens and the male ants have wings.
An ant colony
Ants always live in a group. You never see an ant walk alone. They are social insects. A colony often consists of one, sometimes several queens, with a large group of workers and young males. The workers form the largest group within a colony. The workers are infertile daughters of the queen and have different tasks within the colony. Tasks of workers are to collect food, to build / maintain the ant nest, to take care of the young and to protect the nest. A colony can consist of millions of ants and is often located deep underground in the Netherlands.
Most species of ants live underground and also make their ants’ nest there. To find food, they crawl up out of the nest. Some ants choose a tree trunk for their nest. Yet other ants build the nest under a stone. This stone is heated by the sun and offers protection from the rain. Each nest consists of different rooms.
Ant nest under the ground
Ants are active creatures, they run from one side to the other and drag everything. The ants living under the ground all make an underground nest. They are therefore very busy building these nests. These are huge rooms and are all connected to each other via corridors. Ant nests are complex structures and divided into different types of rooms. A nest offers space for up to 15,000 to 20,000 ants and each nest has a certain smell. Ants from other nests are therefore immediately noticed, as they carry a different smell.
What does an ant’s nest look like from the inside?
The ant nest is very complex and consists of different rooms. These rooms all have their own function. In total, a nest consists of six different rooms. So there is the room for the queen. Here the eggs are laid. These eggs are then moved to the delivery room. This room moves regularly, because the nursery must always be warm and humid. The found food is stored in the storage room. In a litter there is even a sick room. Leftover material is stored in the waste room. A number of ants collect lice. These lice stay in the guest room.
Tasks of ants
Every ant has its own role in the ant nest.
- The queen lays eggs.
- The worker ants are busy all day. They take care of the queen, her eggs and eventually the young ants. In the nest live also workers who are constantly looking for food for everyone and they dig the corridors and rooms in the nest.
- There are even soldiers who defend the nest (the colony) against invaders. Soldiers are the female ants that are infertile.
- The male fertile ants have one task, namely to ensure the fertilization of the eggs of the queen. If you see flying ants, this is the sign of fertilization. They die after fertilization.
Ants arise as larvae in an ant nest. These larvae are raised to infertile workers, queens and males. Only the males and the queens have wings. If these are sufficiently developed, they leave the nest flying, in the Netherlands you usually see these flying ants on hot days. Then follows the bridal flight, in the air pairs the queens and the males. The males die after mating. The queens lose their wings and search with a few workers for a new nesting place. Here they start to found a new ant colony.
How do ants communicate?
Ants are descendants of the wasp. You can see this because the construction of the two insects shows strong similarities. An important characteristic of ants is that they communicate well with each other. They find food sources by making an odor trace to the food, so that the other ants find it too. Ants also recognize certain points and are able to count on the number of steps they have taken. This makes ants very intelligent compared to other insects.
Types of ants
There are astonishingly many different types of ants. Exactly how much it is, is difficult to say, but there are certainly more than 10,000 different types of ants. This number is enormous, because there is a lot of variation in ants. There are several properties that make the variation in ant species large. All ants have feelers on their heads. An important sense. They smell, feel and communicate with this. This way ants touch each other with the feelers to find out if they come from the same ant nest or that they are dealing with an intruder.
Differences between ants
The ant species are determined on the basis of a number of properties.
- Format of the colony; this varies from a few to millions of ants.
- Housing environment; the habitat of the different ant species is diverse. For example, certain species only live underground. Other ant species only occur in treetops. And other ant species live among the crevices of rocks.
- Quantity of queens; the number of queens at the head of a colony varies between one and a hundred.
- Composition of the ant society; In addition to the division of activities in a group, this property also includes the body characteristics of ants.
Most common ants in the Netherlands
Globally there are more than twelve thousand species of ants. In the Netherlands, the presence of fifty ant species has been identified. The most common types of ants in the Netherlands include:
- The Garden Ant
3 to 4 millimeters long, black glossy and has the same construction as that of a wasp.
- The European Red Wood Ant
4 to 9 millimeters long, colored red to reddish-brown and often occur in coniferous and deciduous forests.
- The Pharao Ant
2 to 3 millimeters long (queens are 4 to 5 millimeters long), brownish to black-brown in color and are real omnivores.
- The Black garden Ant
3 to 5 millimeters (workers), 9 millimeters (queen), brown / black in color and life of milking aphids.
- The European Fire Ant
3.5 to 5 millimeters long, reddish to yellow colored and can bite viciously. This ant is rarely ever in the house.
Do you have a nest around your house and therefore suffer from ants in the house? Very annoying! To combat an ant nest, effective anti- control is required. To do this, call in a professional ant fighter. You can find one near you here.