Researchers recently discovered what makes invasive fire ants so successful. They found that these ants are extremely sophisticated manipulators of sand and soil. They can build in any type of soil because they can excavate no matter the size of the grains. These ants are actually able to change their excavation technique to better suit the type of soil they are digging in.
The researchers placed 100 ants in containers of different types of soil – small, medium and large grained, and let them excavate. They also placed ants in containers with different levels of moisture in the soil. The researchers found that that ants could build faster in coarser soil, but in the more moist coarse soil the ants tended to build more complex structures.
Taking an even closer look, the researchers discovered that in coarse soil the ants will grab one particle and drag it with them as they shuffle backwards up the soil. When they are dealing with finer grains, they will pack two or three particles together, almost like they are making a snowball, and pick it up and march up the tunnel. Scientists hope the study will help them build better robots.
How do you think studying the way these ants excavate their tunnels will help improve robotics?
Carpenter ants are no joking matter. In fact, other than termites, they probably cause the most damage in homes because they hollow out wood in order to make their nests. Not only that, but their colonies can grow to be over 10,000 workers…that’s a lot of carpenter ants!
So, what can you do to keep them away? This video by Pestworld tells viewers signs of carpenter ants (mainly small saw dust/wood particles near cracks in the structure of a home) and what you can do to keep them away.
For instance, they are attracted to dampness so always ensure sources of moisture in and around the home are eliminated. It’s also important to fill in any cracks in the structure of the home itself.
As a first line of defense, however, call a reputable and experienced pest control company to assess the situation.
Here are a few facts to help homeowners protect themselves from stinging insects over the next few months:
Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year. They can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction.
Unlike some stinging insect species, wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression. A single colony of wasps can contain more than 15,000 members, so an infestation should not be taken lightly.
Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds and under porches. Some stinging insects can build their nests in the ground, including yellowjackets and velvet ants (which are actually a species of wasps). Over-seeding the yard provides more coverage and discourages these pests from nesting around the property.
Painting or staining untreated wood in fences, decks, swing sets and soffits will help keep stinging insects such as carpenter bees out. Carpenter bees create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood, which can severely compromise the stability of a structure over time.
Only female carpenter bees have stingers. Female carpenter bees will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory distress.