Ants are present everywhere, from the dense, tropical rainforests of South America to the dry, hot deserts of Africa. You can even see them lurking in your kitchen or backyard. You would be amazed to know that there are 11,880 known species of ants all over the world. The total mass of ants taken together exceeds that of human beings. Given below is an overview of the most common types of ants found across the world.
They are often found in the kitchen, lurking in search of food. They set up a 'satellite colony' at their 'workplace', which is located close to their parent colony. These ants choose old, water-damaged wood to make their nests. This wood is very easy to chew, and hence they can make their passageways through it.
They are named after the stinging sensation that is left after an ant-bite. The stinging sensation is due to a harmful chemical substance in the venom. The venom contains alkaloids which are acquired from a compound called piperidine, which is capable of inducing allergies in some people. The sting is lethal to animals as well as some human beings. Fire ants build their nests in the soil, which can be easily identified by the holes present on the surface.
Western Harvester Ants
These are mostly found in the western part of the United States. These ants build their nests in the form of mounds which measure about 1-4 feet wide and 2-10 inches high. The peculiarity of these ants is that they clean the place of any debris before they build their nest, so as to ensure that the sunlight reaches their mound.
Honey Pot Ants
These ants are easily distinguishable due to their large abdomen. They are mostly found in hot, dry areas of Australia, North America, and Africa. These ants are also consumed as a delicacy in some areas.
Leaf Cutter Ants
Leaf cutter ants feed on fungus only. Their functions are distributed depending upon the rank of the ants in the nest.
They are found across the United States. They build their nests outdoors, in soil or under the debris. They may also build their nests indoors, in the crevices of walls, or in moist and warm areas. When crushed, they give out a foul, offensive odor, similar to that of a rotten coconut, and hence the name.
These are tiny ants that have a dark-colored head and thorax and an almost-transparent abdomen and legs. This physical structure makes it difficult to spot them, hence the name. Ghost ants build their nests in tree cavities, under loose tree bark, at the base of palm fronds, in flowerpots, under the ground etc.
Besides the above mentioned types, the other ant species that are commonly found are as follows.
- Cornfield Ants
- Green Ants
- Horse Ants
Ants are a nasty form of pests and are pretty tough to get rid of. However, maintaining a clean environment and depriving them of their food can help in controlling most house ants and other insects. Although, they are not necessarily dangerous, certain ant bites may result in serious health problems.