Our LIVE Bugs
Return to Our LIVE Bugs section.
Harvester Ant colony – Giant 8 foot Ant Farm!
- Ants are common insects, but they have some unique capabilities. There are more than 10,000 types of ants around the world.
- An ant colony creates an underground lair where ants live, eat and mate. Colonies consist of a series of underground chambers, connected to each other and the surface by small tunnels. There are chambers/rooms for nurseries, food storage, and mating. Our display replicates how ants would make their home in the wild.
- Ants are social insects. That means they work together in a community (or colony) just like people work together. Each colony has different types of ants and each kind of ant has a special job to do. Ant communities are headed by a queen, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony.
- Ant jobs include: soldiers, food gatherers, care of eggs and young, and building the anthill.
- Are ants clean? Yes. Ants like to be neat and clean and have a special comb on its front leg to remove dirt from its antennae and body.
- Why do ants come to a picnic? Ants work in groups. When an ant finds a crumb, it lets other in its colony know where food is. When going back to the nest to tell them about the food, the ant leaves a special scent trail called a ‘pheromone’ trail that other ands follow back to where the food was found. Did you know if you rub your finger across the ants’ path, the line of ants will stop because they can’t find the smell leading to the food anymore.
- What if the food is too big for one ant to take home? Ants can carry up to 20 times their body weight. But when ants find a huge piece of food, they try to break the food into smaller pieces. If they can’t they don’t give up. They will find a way to lift and carry the big load together. Teamwork is important to ants.
- Some ants are farmers. Ants began farming about 50 million years before humans thought to raise their own crops. The earliest evidence
suggests ants started using agriculture as early as 70 million years ago.