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Ants Clean and Take Care of their Sick to Avoid Epidemics and Other Facts


Ants are often first thought of as a common pest but if you really stop and think about it you might be surprised at just how little you know about ants and how much you can learn from them. Ants can be found almost everywhere on earth with the exception of Antarctica and a few other remote islands. Ants date back to the mid-cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and evolved from wasp-like ancestors. Some scientists speculate that there are 22,000 species of ants but only 12,500 of these have been classified. Ant colonies have shown common similarities to human societies and have often been a subject of study. Have you ever wondered how ants have survived this long? New research suggests that ants have adapted to prevent epidemics within their communities by taking care of their sick. In their natural habitat ants can contract fungal infections while out foraging for food. When the infected ant returns to the colony the healthy nestmates will groom the infected ant by licking off the fungus and ingesting enough to develop immunity but not enough to make them sick. Should the healthy ants be later exposed to the same fungus they will already have this immunity in place and be better equipped to fight off the infection? Think of it as the ant version of vaccinations for humans.

A-Tex Pest Management has prepared these other interesting ant facts:

• Ants have very specific jobs to do – Ants are traditionally very social and jobs are divided among different types of ants within each colony. The queens have one job, which is to lay eggs. The other female ants are workers; feeding the larvae, removing trash and foraging for food. Male ants only have one job which is to mate with the queen.
• Ants don’t actually have ears but hear by feeling vibrations in the ground – Ants have special sensors on their feet and knees to interpret signals from their surroundings. Ants use their antennae to feel around and locate food.
• Ants can lift up to 50 times their body weight – Ants are tiny and their muscles are thicker in comparison to their body mass than in larger animals. This is what allows an ant to carry objects much heavier and bigger than they are.
• Some ants are considered homeless – There are a group of approximately 200 species of ants known as Army Ants. This group of ants has two phases; nomad and stationary. During the nomad phase, army ants travel during the day and attack other ant colonies and insects for food. During the night they build a temporary nest and move on the following morning. The stationary phase is the only time the ants stop traveling. This is when the queen lays her eggs and the colony waits for them to hatch. The worker ants will make a nest using their bodies to protect the queen and her eggs.

Professional Ant Control

Fascinating as these little creatures may be, control and management are important for health and safety reasons. Ants can inflict painful bites and can have serious consequences if you or a family member should have an allergic reaction. Contact A-Tex Pest Management today and speak with a customer service professional about ant control or any of your other pest control needs. The experienced technicians at A-Tex Pest Management will rid your home of pests and keep them from returning.