About Ants

More than 10,000 known ant species exist around the world. They may be up to half of all the insects living in some locations.

Ants have a narrow "waist" between the abdomen and thorax. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and bees.

Enthusiastically social insects, ants typically live in structured nest communities that may be located underground, in ground-level mounds or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be destructive to buildings.

Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce but instead forage for food, care for the queen's offspring, work on the nest, protect the community and perform many other duties.

Male ants often have only one role—mating with the queen. After they have performed this function, they may die.

Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. They typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus or insects.

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