Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drum: How Ants Communicate and Plan

Ants are simply amazing. They march in single file lines across distances that would seem like miles to humans just to enjoy the fruits of your labor. How on Earth can they find the leftovers on your kitchen counter from across the yard and organize a parade to get to them? If you think they must have some sort of brilliant secret communication system that they’re using to plan their obnoxious invasions, you’re right.

Ants, Chemicals and Important Discussions

They may not use speech or symbols like humans do, but ants have several ways to spread the word about dining opportunities, predator threats and more. They can touch other ants’ bodies, vibrate, and react to smells to get their points across. Researchers have recently discovered that ants can even communicate through sound, but their most impressive skills rely on a different mechanism. For many years, scientists have known that ants use chemicals called pheromones to recognize and communicate with other ants. Pheromones are produced in and released from various parts of an ant’s body. Other ants detect the pheromones with their antennae. The chemicals can alert fellow ants to a variety of situations. A specific pheromone can be used by females to attract mates. Another can sound an alarm when an invader attacks the nest. Chemical signals are even used to mark the path to a new nest during emigration. Pheromones are the drums commanding the ants’ precision march.

How an Ant Food Heist Works

Organizing forces to steal your unattended sandwich from an incredible distance is a complex procedure. Here’s how it works.

1. A lone ant scout discovers your amazing culinary treasure while foraging.

2. The scout immediately returns to the nest to organize the heist. As it makes its long journey, it leaves behind a trail of pheromones that other ants will be able to follow.

3. The scout ant arrives home, and other ants receive the great news through its chemical message.

4. Ants march one by one to the promised buffet by following the scout’s trail.

5. As other foragers arrive to assist, they release pheromones to strengthen the trail until it’s like a 40-foot neon sign announcing free food.

6. Your lunch is covered in hundreds of happy ants, and you no longer want to eat it.

7. If they don’t fall victim to your anger, the ants carefully disassemble the loot and carry it back to safety.

8. You call your pest control company for help.

Burns Pest Elimination: We Have a Drum Too

As an area leader in pest control, Burns understands how problematic an organized and determined stream of ants can be. We’ve been helping Phoenix and Tucson home and business owners win the war against pests for more than 30 years. Visit our website to learn how we can keep ants and other annoyingly intelligent bugs out of your space.