The ants of Delta are among the most successful of all existing insects. There are approximately 8,800 described species of ants in the world of which approximately 570 species are found in North America. Ants perform numerous important ecological and ecosystem functions. They are staple food for birds to bears. Of course our notorious carpenter ants are known for physically breaking down wood on the forest floor or 2x4 studs in your house walls. Six interesting things about our ants:
1. The ant is one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to its size as one single ant can carry 50 times its own bodyweight.
2. Most ants you see are female, as the queen is the founder and her the workers are females. The queen lays the eggs and the workers care for the queen and the young, gathering food, and waste disposal. A female ant will become a queen if she receives a diet richer in protein (not genetics).
3. Okay, the guys job is simple, they are born to fly and mate, and once they mate they soon die but their sperm can live on for years with the new queen.
4. Flying ant day/nuptial flight - When the conditions are warm and damp, the winged virgin queens and males fly into the sky and mate. After mated queens drop to the ground they shed their wings and find a nest site. The new queen won’t eat for weeks after the mating.
5. The new queen ants can live for decades laying egg, the female workers live for a year and the male for a couple weeks. This is all due to the way their genes are switched on and off.
6. Sometimes there can be several queens in one nest but eventually they fight so only one survives. Some colonies will steal brood from their neighbours, putting them to work as slaves.
Go Green Pest Control owner Randy Bilesky is a long-time South Delta resident. Trained and certified, Bilesky has first-hand knowledge of the pest problems that local homeowners and business owners encounter.