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Types of Ants
Ants are so common that every time you step outside, given the right season, it is hard to not come across one. There are many different species, or types, of ants all over the world. In the United States the most common ants are carpenter ants, fire ants, and western harvester ants.
The carpenter ant is what you will usually find lurking around in your kitchen looking for food and other insects. The ants that you typically find around the home have set up what is called a satellite colony, which comes from the parent colony that is located just outside. These ants will build their nests inside of old wood that has had previous water damage and get their names from chewing passageways through the wood.
Another common ant is the fire ant, which gets its name from the burning sensation they leave behind after stinging you. These ants will attack small animals, killing some, and even humans. Some people do have allergic reactions to such stings and they can be harmful. Fire ants build their nests in the soil and can be identified by the many small holes and cracks in which the ants enter and leave the nest.
Similar to both of these types of ants are the western harvester ants. The western harvester ants are common in the western part of the United States past the Mississippi River, hence the name. These ants are known to build their nests in mounds measuring 1-4 feet across and as large as 2-10 inches high. The ant will clear any plants and debris away from the area before beginning to build their nests to insure that they get direct sunlight to the mound.
If for some reason a plant becomes too tall and shades the nest, the western harvester ants will either build in a new location or simply move the old nest somewhere else. Also considered to be fighting ants, these ants will attack other animals, species of ants, and ever their own species from another colony. The western harvester ant is similar to the fire ant because they too have a painful sting, which is used as a defense mechanism. The stinger of the western harvester ant is said to be a barbed stinger, close to that of a bee, and can become unattached from the ant after it has stung its enemy.
With the western harvester ant being probably the most interesting of all three of the ants described above, there are literally thousands of different ant species in the world. Some people see ants as a nuisance but if you take the time to learn more about what the ants do and why they are here then you being to earn a certain kind of respect for these amazing creatures.
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