Ants are insects that are related closely to bees and wasps.

Habitat and social organization
  • Ants are found almost everywhere, in backyards, gardens, forests and meadows, wherever there is food.
  • They are social insects, with some colonies numbering in the millions.
  • All ants from the same nest have the same scent. Ants smell each other using scent detectors on their antennae, or feelers. By the scent, they can tell friend from foe.
  • Everywhere a worker goes, she leaves a scent trail that she and others can follow to a food source or back to the nest.
  • Some ants are relatively peaceful, but others are not. Slaver ants raid the nests of other ants and take the larvae and pupae. When the larvae and pupae emerge as adults, they work as slaves in the new nest until they die.
  • While some ants hunt insects and other small animals for food, others ranch or herd aphids to obtain the sweet honeydew excretions produced by these plant-feeding insects. The honeydew is taken back to the nest for food.
  • Only the queen of an ant colony lays eggs. All worker and soldier ants are sterile females.
  • The only ants with wings are males and new queens. They leave the nest in spring and summer to mate in the air. The males then die, and the queens start new colonies.


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Updated: Apr 8, 2009