Ants (lat.Formicidae) - a family of public insects from the superfamily ant (Formicoidea) of the hymenoptera order (Hymenoptera). They are among the most common insects and are of particular interest in the complex organization of the community. The science of ants is called myrmecology.
We are not interested in the entire genus of ants, but only three of their species, most often found in the middle zone of Eurasia.
- Red myrmica (Myrmica rubra) Is a species of small red ants of the genus Myrmica with a length of about 4-5 mm (uterus up to 6 mm). The body is yellow to reddish brown. Collect small arthropods, both living and dead; Aphids are bred as “ant cows”, providing a classic example of trophobiotic symbiosis.
© Gary Alpert
- Red Forest Ant (Formica rufa Linnaeus) - a species of medium-sized ants of the genus Formica from the subfamily Formicinae of the family Formicidae. Most important for biological protection of forests from pests. Red forest ants are included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals of the International Red Book of the World Conservation Union.
- Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger) Is a species from the genus Lasius from the subfamily Formicinae, within the family Formicidae, which includes small ants and, as a rule, ants. Workers have a length of about 3-5 mm, the uterus is larger (7-10 mm). It feeds on aphids, both living on trees and living on herbaceous plants, on leaves, stems and roots. It feeds on the corpses of insects, but sometimes it attacks the living.
© James K. Lindsey
In fact, the ants themselves are quite harmless.
Being real social insects and leading an eusocial lifestyle, ants have three castes (females, males, workers), including absolutely wingless workers. In anthills you can always find females - both prolific queens (queens) and infertile workers. True, queens are much more difficult to find. If workers (especially large individuals - soldiers) rush to bite everyone in case of danger, then the uterus is very shy and immediately hide much longer and deeper. Males appear only during the breeding season. For most of the year, the family of ants consists of one or more prolific females, a large number of working individuals and brood (eggs, larvae, pupae).
A family of ants is an association of hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of individualsthe efforts of which build a nest, numerous offspring are fed, the anthill and its feeding area are protected from encroachments of aggressive neighbors. All these tasks would have remained unfulfilled, and the family itself would have broken up if the ants making up the family had not coordinated their actions, and their efforts had not been subordinated to the common task of maintaining and prospering the family.
The functioning of each working ant is aimed at ensuring the well-being of the family. The actions of an ant are ultimately determined by social necessity; any type of its activity has a pronounced social character. This is manifest everywhere. Foraging workers obtain food in quantities many times greater than their individual needs. The collection of building material for the construction of the nests of ants is generally pointless in the application to the individual and makes sense only in the community. Families of many ants have a special group of carrier ants carrying larvae, pupae, young workers, and sometimes females from one part of the nest to another or to a related anthill.
In favor of ants.
In the process of life ants bring considerable benefits, in the places of construction of anthills there is a concentration and accelerated decomposition of plant debris, aeration and improvement of the water regime and soil structure. The soil is enriched with humus and elements important for plants (phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, etc.) in forms accessible to plants. And also do not forget the predatory and collective activity of ants. Ants that settle in wood or include old stumps in nests participate in the mechanical destruction of dead wood, thereby accelerating the process of its decomposition. Red forest and small-headed ants collect wood and grass particles, twigs, needles, scales, grass blades, etc. from the territory surrounding the nest, concentrating them in anthills, where the decomposition of these particles is much faster than on the soil surface.
Anthills are foci of increased soil fertility. Small nests are microcenters; large nests - macro-foci, already noticeable with standard methods of accounting.
In the prey of ants, harmful insects predominate. During mass breeding, pests in the prey of ants make up 90% or more.
And yet, no matter how the ants in the suburban areas were useful, they annoy us, plant aphids on our favorite roses and other plants, and weave paths.
A few simple tips on how to get rid of ants in the country:
- pour boiling water over the anthill;
- loosen their nest and sprinkle with lime or tobacco dust;
- ants do not tolerate pungent odors; on the anthill you can put the head of smoked herring, cut into several pieces of garlic cloves, spread the tops of the tomato or parsley leaves;
- well helps decoction of the tops of tomatoes; the more concentrated the solution, the better;
- take corrugated cardboard with a width of about 20 cm, sprinkle it with a solution of soot or dust with cinnamon. Ants cannot stand the smell of soot and cinnamon;
- not a very pleasant way, but you can pour ant nests with urine, often it helps;
- make a solution: take ten liters of water, two glasses of vegetable oil, some cheap shampoo and vinegar; poke a hole in the center of the anthill and pour this mixture there; cover with foil for several days;
- bring from the forest and settle in the garden of large red ants, and after that the black ants themselves will leave your territory;
Any of these methods of combating these annoying insects has its opponents and supporters, but they, unfortunately, do not give a 100% guarantee of getting rid of ants. Therefore, many gardeners often choose chemicals to protect them from ants. Gardeners should also know that any of the methods of fighting ants is useless if the uterus remains in the anthill. The most humane way to get rid of ants is to take the nest outside the boundaries of the site. To do this, take the old bucket and cover the anthill. Ants will quickly begin to form nests in the new tank. As soon as this process is completed, you need to cut the nest with a shovel and, together with the ant uterus, take it somewhere far away from your site. And the remaining individuals themselves will leave after the uterus.
Links to materials:
- A.A. Zakharova, Ant, family, colony. Publishing House "SCIENCE" Moscow 1978