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Five Hugely Interesting Facts About Tiny Ants

Dark brown crazy ant.
Ants are a ubiquitous part of the Phoenix and Tucson pest population, infamous for raiding sugar bowls and excavating healthy lawns. Lowly ants don’t get – or deserve – much respect. This list of facts won’t change your disdain for the pesky insects, but you may grow to appreciate their fascinating traits.

They Don’t Work That Hard

Ants scurry back and forth at breakneck speed like the most industrious bugs on the planet. Yet they also enjoy plenty of downtime. A single ant averages more than 250 catnaps a day, and some hibernating species hit the sack for 16 weeks. Did you know that they round up neighboring colonies for slave labor? You have to wonder how these insects maintain such hard-working reputations.

Harvesters Are Very Venomous

This ant species is common in Arizona, and it packs a very potent punch. One bite delivers as much pain as a dozen honey bees. To their credit, the ants use their venom for pheromone communication. To put it more simply, they ooze the stuff onto their antennae, sniff around each other and pick up signals that keep colony life organized.

They Make Living Life Rafts

Toss one fire ant into the pond, and he’ll sink. Dump a shovel full of these aggressive pests in the water, and they mass together like a blob from another world. It’s an effective survival strategy. Their exoskeletons give them buoyancy while their bodies form a watertight mass. The ants cling together until fate or the wind pushes their living raft back to solid ground.

Their Kisses Are Disgusting

You probably don’t get close enough to see this strange exchange, but it happens every day. When a pair of ants press their little mouths together, they’re actually exchanging food. Ants actually have two stomachs, and one is strictly for storing and sharing regurgitated meals. Scientists refer to this process as trophallaxis.

You’re Outnumbered

According to scientists – and it’s their job to know these things – all the ants in the world outweigh the entire human population. The little buggers have been multiplying for at least 130 million years. Don’t lose sleep over being outnumbered. Just be thankful that they can’t outwit you. One ant brain averages 250,00 brain cells while yours tops out at more than 10 million.

It’s always entertaining to learn weird new facts about Arizona insects, but living with them is never fun. If you need help with any kind of pest control, contact us. We’ll make sure the ants don’t crash that backyard cookout.