Ants belong – along with honey bees and wasps – to the order of hymenoptera. Ants live in large, complex state communities in which each individual spends his or her entire life doing the activity for which he or she is destined.
The founder of each state is the fertile female – the queen. She is born winged, and her life’s work is simply to provide for her offspring. The males are also winged; they are more numerous than the winged females.
Their task begins with flocking and ends with the mating of the young queen. After swarming, both females and males shed their wings. Soon after, the males die. The most extensive caste in the state is made up of infertile females – the workers, who hatch without wings.
They are responsible for all the work such as gathering, storing and preparing food, building and cleaning the ant nest, guarding it and defending it against intruders, but above all for caring for and rearing the offspring.
You can constantly see them bustling back and forth with larvae and pupae, which are falsely called “ant eggs”. They either bring them to the surface to keep them warm, or carry them out into the shade or deeper into the sun, depending on need and weather, keep them clean and make sure that they do not dry out.
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In their work, the workers are guided above all by their sense of smell, taste, and touch. Their eyesight, on the other hand, is poor, and workers of many species are even blind.
In addition to the secretion of the hypopharyngeal glands, the larvae are fed with chewed meat, especially parts of insects. Many of them are therefore considered useful for humans, as they destroy harmful insects.
However, our native ants also cover their food requirements with sugary substances, especially in the form of “honeydew”, which many plant-sucking insects such as aphids and scale insects produce. However, they also drink flower nectar when aphids are not yet present or not in sufficient quantities. For more detail about ants click here.
In our homes, these species of ants also drink sugar-containing products such as jams, honey, fruit juices, and sugar. Often enough, it is probably bitter famine that turns them into burglars and thieves. This is certainly true for ants that wake up too early from hibernation as a result of a mild winter and still find no source of food outside.
As with bees, they also communicate about food sources. Some ants have the task of finding new food sources. If their search is successful, they lay a scent trail to the nest, where the worker ants intended for food transport find their way to the feeding place. These are the well-known ant trails.