Are Ants Omnivores — Eve’s student essay

Are Ants Omnivores?

Ants are a fascinating species, and one that has developed into many different types, from the tiny thief ants to the gigantic Dinoponera. If you live in America, then most ant species you know today originated from South America, most notably Argentina. They spread rapidly out from Florida and Louisiana and dominated the entirety of America at an astonishing rate.

The most common types of ant in America are the red and black ants. The red ants are slightly larger with a red coloring to them, they are also more aggressive than black ants and are sometimes called fire ants. They’re stings can cause rashes and burning sensation. 

Red ants tend to stay outside, unlike black ants who love to be indoors. The black, or carpenter ant, are the types you find crawling over your kitchen counter. While they may not bite and hurt like the fire ants, these insects are just as much a nuisance. They can infest your house quickly and can cause property damage. 

There are three main types of ant, the queens, the drones, and workers. The queen and drone ants are both female, while the workers are male.

ant workers

When a queen decides to mate she will fly away from her colony to another colony and mate with a male before flying back to lay his eggs. This keeps them from inbreeding. All fertilized eggs become worker ants, while unfertilized eggs become drones. 

The drones main job is to go outside the colony and scout for food. Once they find food they leave a scent marker of where it is and walk back with a piece, trailing their scented path all the way back to the colony. This is why you see ants walk in those straight lines, because they are following the paths left by the original scout. Ants are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and vegetables.

They are a real pest and can destroy crops and gardens, as well as attack other insect species to feast upon. However, colonies don’t just grow forever, once a colony grows too large one of the queens will split off with a group of followers and start a new colony somewhere else. 

This colony, after a few generations, stops being recognized as the same by the original colony. If these two groups come in contact again they will fight each other for food and territory. It is quite common for ants to war with each other for territory, some ant species being completely wiped out into extinction by these feuds. 

In southern America today there is a mass war going on between the fire ant and the argentine ant, and it looks like the fire ant is winning. However if you personally are waging war against ants, pest control companies can and will help. They have many different ways of killing ants and preventing them from entering your home in the first place. Ants are a complex creature, whether you see them as a fascinating insect, or a nuisance to be removed, they will continue to thrive right under our feet for years to come.

Author: Eve Torrence

Arizona State University
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