June 24, 2010

The Amazing Workforce.

Look closely at the picture to the left. Can you see what it is? (Please, click to enlarge.)
Yes, these are ants and I need a better camera lens and zoom.
Nevertheless, I can not help but be completely fascinated by these incredible little insects. Or not so little, depending on where in the world we are.
Thankfully, in my part of the world, ants are miniature and pose no harm to us humans. They are more a source of admiration and at time a slight nuisance to us gardeners.

I love to watch these little creatures, ALWAYS hard at work. They seem to be a spring of endless energy. Constantly on a move, busy performing or undertaking something, they appear to be almost a part of a collective consciousness, as they are so synchronized and organized in their work flow.

Already as a child I loved when walking through the Slovakian forests with my parents, we would encounter an ant hill. I always stopped gazing at it with fascination, as it appeared that a bustling metropolis was hiding within its core. A slight disturbance and the hill seemed to come alive in instant, as the inhabitants mobilized their troops.

Here are some cool facts about these amazing creatures (click here for source):

•If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse.
•Ants can lift 20 times their own body weight.
•The average life expectancy of an ant is 45-60 days.
•Adult ants cannot chew and swallow solid food. They rely on juice which they squeeze from pieces of food.
•The abdomen of the ant contains two stomachs. One stomach holds the food for itself and second stomach is for food to be shared with other ants.
•There are over 10000 known species of ants.
•Some worker ants are given the job of taking the rubbish from the nest and putting it outside in a special rubbish dump.
•Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites.
•The Slave-Maker Ant (Polyergus Rufescens) raids the nests of other ants and steals their pupae. When these new ants hatch,they work as slaves within the colony.
•If a worker ant has found a good source for food, it leaves a trail of scent so that the other ants in the colony can find the food.
•The queen ant lives up to ten or twenty years.
•The wood ant can threaten the enemy with open jaws.
•There are thirty-five thousand kinds of ants in the world.
•Some ants sleep seven hours a day.
•Ants are normally from 2 to 7 mm long, although carpenter ants can stretch to 2 cm, or almost an inch.
•Some ants care for and "farm" other insects.

Today I am as in awe of these busy little insects as I was in my childhood. However at times they do rise my frustration level; such as when they move into my house or start undermining my patios, just like on the clip below, which I took a couple of weeks ago.


Anonymous said...

These creatures fascinated me since I was little. But I was terrified of ants after I got bit by one of them. Uurg! It hurts!


Anonymous said...
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Cheryl Kohan said...

That's a terrific photo, Zuzana. The ants are a clear as can be.

I love your comparison to a bustling metropolis! That's exactly how it appears. Well, I guess it IS a bustling metropolis...of ants!

The facts are really interesting. Hard to believe any of them sleep at all let alone 7 hours at a time!

Kcalpesh said...

This is really interesting!! I always thought only we humans had a busy life... :-D

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Pixellicious Photos

tony said...

Zuzana! I am starting to Itch!!!!!

Brian Miller said...

ants are fascinating...unless they are red...and they are just dangerous...but that they can work together to accomplish so much...perhaps there is much for us to learn...

Unknown said...

ants have always caught my attention also. they are so fun to watch. as a child I used to drop stuff in their hole just to watch them unplug it.

and you are amazing! who else can get us all to watch a video on ants running in and out of a hole. :-)

Anonymous said...

Zuzana, I love ants too. They're so resourceful, aren't they?

However, they also have minds of their own, something that can annoy me when they decide to tromp through our house on a hot summer's day. Grrr! :P

Laura said...

they are amazing little creatures...but I do wish they wouldn't try to take over my kitchen cabinets...at least not the week before we have guests coming...oh well.

Reasons said...

and it makes you wonder doesn't it, will the meek really inherit the earth?!!

Bossy Betty said...

I was an ant watcher too when I was a child. I loved watching their activity. You have inspired me to find some and do the same today!

Avo said...

•There are over 10000 known species of ants.
•There are thirty-five thousand kinds of ants in the world.

Digging around online I found varying numbers between 11000 and 22000...
If they are coming in mainly from one identified place... You can use ground cinnamon to repel them.
I didn't realize that the queens were so long lived. I was under the impression the lived 12 years max and that was only in certain long lived species... I'm again finding all kinds of information.
Were did you find yours?
Yeah ants really are neat. I kept an ant farm for several months as a child.

sprinkles said...

I remember going to a nature museum somewhere once where we got to see them up close which I really enjoyed. There were clear tunnels all over in the walls and ceilings where we could watch them crawl. I wish I could remember where that was because it was really fascinating to watch them.

I remember getting bitten once by a big red ant when I was a kid and it really hurt. My brother laughed at me all day.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Interesting post! Ants are so amazing and I learned more facts about them from your post--how did they ever survive an Artic winter? They are truly resilient, and it is really miraculous to consider. I found myself humming Frank Sinatra's version of the song "High Hopes" about the industrious little ant and the rubber tree plant!
Loved your post yesterday too! I love all those things about summer too and the senses seem to be heightened by the wondrous color, smells and tastes!

Rajesh said...

Great list of facts about the ant. Even though I am also amazed at the way they work, I had no idea about these facts.

S. Susan Deborah said...

True Zuzana. The Bible talks about ants in Proverbs and asks us to learn from them. They are so industrious and meticulous. Anything that is not human is wonderful.

I liked seeing the picture and the 'anty' fact.

Another post bringing the researcher in you.

Have a lovely weekend dear Zuzana.

P.S: Are you waking up with lovely thoughts? Hope your tense feeling and disturbed mornings are history.

Joy always,

Paul C said...

We have similar interlocking bricks which harbour ants beneath. By the way, Slovakia defeated Italy in World Cup soccer. You must be happy with such a resounding victory?

United Studies said...

Yes, I agree. Ants are fascinating as long as they are outside, where they belong. As soon as they are crawling around in the house, out comes the ant spray!

Unknown said...

This is a nice post. Loved the first picture. And its very clear. The video was nice too. Ants are fascinating creatures. Maybe, we should learn a lot from them. Great facts.

Claus said...

Very hard-working species indeed!, but do also destroy gardens, and make underground holes! For some reason that I need to look deeper, they appear around here when the rainy season starts, making the biggest holes underneath patios and houses, which eventually, can destabilize the structures.
Watch out for your plants and flowers!
have a lovely day my friend!

Claus said...
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Regina said...

Wow amazing facts.
Really cool.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Anonymous said...

If I was an ant, I'd be one of the ones that slept seven hours a day. :) They DO seem so incredibly busy!!!
Hope you have a great weekend, Zuzana!

laughingwolf said...

european fire ants have made it to canada... and have become highly aggressive, attacking anything they can :(

Mike Minzes said...

Ants are amazing creatures. Some people hate them, but I revel in what there little bugs can do as a team. Never complaining, never faltering, never giving up.
Bees are the same way.
One only has to look at the world to see all the amazing thing going on right under our noses. If we could be like them, imagine how different and lovely the world would be!

HMCinCali said...

interesting article bringing us up close and personal into the art world. The tid bit I liked best is that the queen lives 10 -20 years which is an amazing long time relative to everyone else.

In the hot CA summers ants like moving indoors and I had an horrible problem with them in my kitchen. My brother and his wife thought this pretty amusing and to honor the ants bought my daughter an ant farm.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

They are TOTALLY amazing, aren't they? Such fascinating facts about them, too! Zuzana, you always get me to stop and look at everything around me in a new way...and to revel in the beauty of nature and the world! You have such an extraordinary gift! Thank you for sharing it with me! (and of course, your other readers...*smile*) Sending you love, Janine XO

Absolutely Ladylike said...

However...they are not very welcome inside my home :-)

I didn't know that they have such a short life...it makes me sad somehow...

Hope you're having a lovely weekend so far dearest Zuzana...much love: Evi

Zuzana said...

Mel, Cheryl, Kcalpesh, tony, Brian, Doreen, Tony, Laura, Joanne, Betty, Alesa, sprinkles, C or V, Rajesh, Susan, Paul, Jacki, Mr. Stupid, Claudia, Regina, Zuzu, laughingwolf, Realliveman, HCM (welcome), Janine and Evi; thank you all for great comments. I am so glad you enjoy reading about ants, that most of us do not pay much attention to at all, on daily bases.;))

For those of you who asked, the source to my facts is mention and linked to in the post.

I am so happy that you keep stopping by and I love your visits and lovely words, always.


Unknown said...

Zuzana: I was expecting to hear your voice yelling "Get out of here!" a the end. No such luck. lol anyway! :)

Nessa said...

Ants are amazing. Your picture is very pretty. I love the colors.

When the summer is very hot and dry we get them coming into the kitchen looking for water.

Sumandebray said...

I used to watch the ants at work when I was a kid... there so amny variety of them..
they are so disciplined and very ruthless at times if someone revolts. And they do maintain a very strong caste system .. a worker is always a worker!!!
Enjoyed reading your post

swenglishexpat said...

I feel positively lazy after that! ;-)

Zuzana said...

Michael, Nessa, Sumandebray and swenglishexpat; glad you guys enjoyed taking a peak at the life in my backyard.;) Always happy when you stop by dear freinds,