Part 19: Antipedia - Ants at Home
This one's short but sweet. Let's learn a bit about how the ants live.
Ants build their nests in many places: under ground, under rocks, in mounds above ground, in rotten logs, inside trees and plants, and even inside the walls of human houses. Nests have many chambers, each with its own use. One chamber is for the queen. Other chambers are used for nurseries, food storage and garbage dumps.
Ants have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The queen lays from 10 to hundreds of eggs every day. Nurse workers take the eggs from the queen's chamber to nurseries where they are cleaned and protected. After about two weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae. Larvae do nothing but eat to store energy for their next stage. After a few weeks, the larva weaves a cocoon around itself and becomes a pupa. After a few more weeks an adult ant emerges full grown from the cocoon.
Ant colonies also have stages. The first stage, Founding is when the new Queen digs a small nest and begins laying eggs. The next stage is Expansion. Workers and Soldiers enlarge the nest and the Queen lays more eggs. When there are enough ants, the Queen produces winged ants--Males and New Queens. Next is Reproduction: the winged ants fly away to mate. The New Queens found new nests, and the ants left behind in the old colony go back into the Expansion stage and start over again.
And that's your basic ant home life! Next time, we'll look at some relatives of ants.