How Do Ants Find Food? Interesting Ants Facts For Kids | Kidadl


How Do Ants Find Food? Interesting Ants Facts For Kids

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Most people don’t know that an ant can lift 50 times of its own body weight, so it’s no wonder that it can lift the little chunk of chocolate cake from your snack.

An ant colony is divided into three classes, the winged queen, males, and wingless infertile females. Interestingly, the males have wings like the queen ant.

These infertile females are also known as workers. The worker class comprises a few scouting ants. The hardworking scout ants are responsible for finding food and for feeding others. The carpenter ants are bigger than the other types of ants we generally notice. These ants are almost 0.5 in (1.2 cm) long. The other types of regular pest ants are smaller in size, they are 0.2 in (0.5 cm). Because the scout ants are the ones to find food, they are in general called food ants. On the other hand, the Queen ant is the one who lays eggs.

Check out similar articles like how do amphibians breathe? And how do animals hibernate?

How do ants locate their food?

The ant is indeed a unique species. They use their antennae to sense foods. Ants leave behind pheromones while looking for food. When they come back to the nest, other ants will follow the chemical trail left to find the food. These are the ant colonies we generally notice in our house.

Ants have an incredible sense of smell, permitting them to find food. The scout ants are always running randomly in search of food. When the worker ants find food such as sweets, bread or biscuit crumbs, or maybe your evening snacks, they return back to the colony. On the way back to the nest worker ant repeatedly presses their abdomen to the ground and lays down a scent trail. The other ants are now ready to march towards the food by sensing the secretions with the help of their smell organs. Then they follow the scent trail and finally reach the food discovered by the worker ants.

Teamwork By The Army Of Ants

Ants are social creatures and they always work in a team. When a worker ant finds food, it summons the other members of the colony for help.

After finding a food source, an ant tries to communicate with other ants. It not only uses a pheromone trail, but it also uses cheeping sounds known as stridulation. Can you guess how they produce this sound? They usually rub the two parts of their abdomen together to make the sound. They can also convey signals with their legs and use their antennae to sense different chemicals.

Finding Its Way Back Home

You may think that finding its way back home is relatively easy for ants as they can trace the pheromone trail. However, it is not that easy of a task if they live in a desert or any tropical area.

The pheromones left by an ant frequently seem to get evaporated by the heat. Hence, we see that most of the ants do not rely on the chemicals but have found several other ways to get back to their nests. Recent studies have shown that ants follow a rule called path integration. They can identify similar visuals and can use them as landmarks. Several other ways include the position of the sun, the time of the day, familiar scenarios, and many more. They keep track of the distance and direction of travel. The eyes of an ant have a wide-angle view, which allows them to see their surroundings by nearly 360-degree vision.

Can ants smell food?

It often surprises us how easily ants find the food they like to eat, like sweets! A tiny chunk of sugar in your house releases a smell that can lead a colony of ants to your home.

Ants can smell food from far away, and most of the ants could pick up a scent from 10.8 ft (3.3 m) away. Even some can sense as far as 19.3 ft (5.9 m). This strong sense of smell helps them in many ways. Ants can also detect sugar from far away. Sugar has a slight smell, as you know, especially granular beet sugar, which makes it easier for ants to locate crumbs of foods even when it's far away from its nest. There are food sources that ants cannot smell from a distance. In that case, the ants taste it by touching it. This is known as contact chemoreception.

Ant carrying food

Ants Do Rest

It's often thought that ants never sleep. But to our surprise, they do rest.

An ant's sleeping pattern is not like other insects, they take naps throughout the day. Each nap lasts about one minute on average. Workers take about 250 little power naps, adding up to a total of roughly five hours of sleep per day. In ant colonies, it is observed that while in rest, ants lose control of muscle and have a reduced acuity to stimulation. But they do not dream, mainly because they have a less complex nervous system.

Annoying Pests In Your Home

Pests are destructive insects that attack crops, food, livestock, and more. Ants are the most frequent pests you can see around houses and buildings.

Like any other insects, ants can be pretty annoying. They cause contamination of food. They build piles of sand around our homes, maybe in our gardens, and cause damage by drilling out wood and other materials to create their nests. Some ants make nests in walls and foundations, or any enclosed area. They look for already present cracks or breaks and will eventually deteriorate the building. Ants continuously look for food, which is why they seem to often appear out of nowhere.

Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Ant's Nuisance

As we see ants can affect the house like any other pest. Ants come to our houses and look for anything to eat. Meanwhile, they take control of making nests, after they feed themselves enough, and that's where the trouble begins.

There are several ways to get rid of any pest, like using chalk, lemon or orange peels, pepper, salt, peppermint, and white vinegar can be effective treatments. Using a 50-50 solution of water and white vinegar can reduce the nuisance of ants. You can wipe the floors, countertops, and sinks by using a diluted vinegar solution. You can even use straight vinegar while cleaning your home. You can also use sealed-off plastic bags or food storage containers to keep your food in your house, as they cannot smell through the plastic.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how do ants find food? Then why not take a look at how do birds find worms, or how do dolphins sleep facts pages?

Rajnandini is an art lover and enthusiastically likes to spread her knowledge. With a Master of Arts in English, she has worked as a private tutor and, in the past few years, has moved into content writing for companies such as Writer's Zone. Trilingual Rajnandini has also published work in a supplement for 'The Telegraph', and had her poetry shortlisted in Poems4Peace, an international project. Outside work, her interests include music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading. She is fond of classic British literature.

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