Ants Marching in Maryland
Sometimes it is just plain interesting to find learn about some of the more exotic insects in the world. This is especially true if the insect is not in the area where you live.
We have recently been seeing a lot about army ants. Ants, ants and more ants: key term as it is estimated that there are 10,000 trillion ants worldwide, weighing more than all mankind. Ants are the number one predator of other insects and are the principal scavengers of small dead animal bodies.
Just what makes army ants so interesting? To start with the army ant travels in very large numbers. Many colonies of these ants have around 1,000,000 in the colony. A good analogy of the method of attack is very similar to what mankind has done for centuries: a direct front movement using very large numbers. It is not uncommon for an attack of army ants to use over 200,000 in the attack. The best bet for anything in the path of the army ant attack is to get out of the way. Small animals do not have a chance. The perimeter of the army attack contains the specialists: the larger soldiers that have pinchers and will protect the flanks of the advancing army. Birds will actually follow behind the army and pick off insects as they attempt to get out the way. This army will kill small lizards, snakes and frogs if they fail to move out of the way. Small ponds and streams are not a problem: the army will morph into a large ball and cross the water.
Being on earth for over 140 million years one thing is certain: they outlasted dinosaurs and if we as humans fail the army ant will be here for many millions of years. I for one am happy that the army ant is not in the United States. Good thing: the army ant will move its nest in the never ending quest for food.
When the nest is not moving: watch out the queen is very busy laying eggs around the clock and when those eggs morph into soldiers and infertile workers the army will go in search of food.
Mark Leahy is the President of Maryland's Blades of Green lawn Care and Pest Control, a family owned lawn care and pest control company. Mark has concentrated his efforts in Central Maryland as well as Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mark has over 20 years experience in the Lawn and Pest Control Industries.