“Are Ants Insects?”; “Can Ants Swim?”; “How do Ants Work as a Team?”; “Can Ants Jump?”

These questions (along with a few stranger questions such as “Why are Ants attracted to urine?”) are all questions that people have entered into the Google search bar. So, we are here to answer some of those questions.

“Are Ants Insects?”

Yes. Insects are defined as an arthropod with “segmented bodies, jointed legs, and external skeletons (exoskeletons)”.1 Ants have segmented bodies, 6 legs, antennae, and an exoskeleton. The segments of all insect bodies are broken into 3 parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. More information on a few different kinds of Ants can be found under our Pests tab.

Drawing of Insect Body Parts

“Can Ants Swim?”

Well, not really, but they can float and, depending on the species, can survive for weeks by floating. One case of a particularly resourceful ant species is the Fire Ant. “When in water, fire ants float by interlinking their legs and mouth till they reach a safe location.”2  The surface tension of water is also a factor in helping Ants survive in water. So, if you think you can drown out a colony of ants, think again.

Floating Fire Ant Raft

A raft of fire ants floating on the surface of water.

“How Do Ants Work as a Team?”

Ants Team

Just like the example of the Fire Ants above, colonies of Ants are always working together to build nests, forage for food, and survive any predators. Every colony consists of thousands of different Ants, each with a different job. Workers, soldiers, drones, and the Queen are the different types of ants, and each section is in charge of their own duties to keep the colony up and running.

  1. Workers collect food, dig tunnels, and protect the young.
  2. Soldiers protect the nest from predators
  3. Drones are the only male Ants, and they start new colonies
  4. The Queen is the mother and is the only reproducer in the colony, creating all the new Ants to keep the colony alive

Because each different type of Ant has a specific job, they all need each other to keep the colony going. They would individually die without the others, so each job is just as important as the next, creating a huge team that works together.3

“Can Ants Jump?”

No, however, there is one species of Ant called the Trap-Jaw Ant that can propel itself backwards by clamping its jaw against a surface. This is an amazing evolutionary design that scientists have been studying and still don’t quite understand. Check out this video to see the Trap-Jaw Ant in action and how these women are trying to recreate the motion in a micro-robot. We will explore the Trap-Jaw Ant in a future post, so be sure to check back or subscribe to our newsletter for notifications on future blog posts.

Trap Jaw Ant Cartoon

“Why Are Ants Attracted to Urine?”

Sugar. Urine often contains trace amounts of glucose which attracts Ants as they love sugary substances. There is some discussion around whether Ants being attracted to your urine suggests that you may be diabetic, for example. That being said, it is not necessarily the case as there is usually at least some trace amounts of glucose in everyone’s urine. In short, using Ants as a Diabetes test is widely discouraged.

Ants Around a Toilet

What other Ant questions do you have that you would like answered? Send us a message below to let us know!