Red ants, settling in houses, and a red forest ant are two completely different kinds of ants . They differ from each other not only in size and appearance, but also in their biology: a red ant that lives in the forest is known for its outstanding building abilities and activities for the destruction of forest parasites, while domestic red ants have evolved to the unicolonality of their nest, which ensures their highest survival rate and active distribution in seemingly quite uncomfortable areas for them.
Representatives of these two species are the easiest to distinguish in size: if the red forest ants have sizes from 4 to 9 mm, the home red ant can barely reach 3 mm. Therefore, if there are small red ants in the house, who can hardly see the feet, they are pests, not random visitors from the forest.
On a note
By size, you can confuse only the uterus of a domestic ant with a working forest. But in general, the ant-uterus of both domestic and forest red ants always has a more characteristic shape of the body with an enlarged breast, and its coloring differs from that of a forest colleague.
These two species differ well in their coloration: the brown red ants are completely brown with two thin light transverse striae on the abdomen. Especially good these strips are visible in the uterus.
The red forest ant has only a red chest and a lower head: the back of the head and the whole abdomen are black. The photo shows a working ant of this kind:
By the way
No less clearly small red ants differ in nature: if the defender of the forest is quite capable of biting a person painfully, the domestic Pharaoh ants do not bite at all.
But even more these two species differ from one another in the features of their biology ...
Red forest ant: features of biology, nutrition, photos
The red forest ant is one of the most characteristic ants of the forest zone of Russia in general. It has a normal body for ants, a red, almost red chest and lower head, a black abdomen and a nape, as well as two shiny velvety bandages on the abdomen.
The uterus of the red forest ant has the same coloring as the working specimen, but larger in size - up to one and a half centimeters.
It is interesting
In the abdomen of each ant there is an iron containing a large amount of formic acid. This acid, an insect can spray a few centimeters around itself.
Most of all, red forest ants are famous for arranging huge anthills, up to 2 meters high. Such heaps are formed from the earth and food residues, which insects carry out outside, equipping their underground chambers. When you reach a heap of certain sizes - such that the necessary microclimate starts to be maintained in it - the chambers for storing food and larvae begin to be organized in the heap itself.
Forest ants eat in approximately equal amounts by other insects (they are eaten mainly by larvae) and by products of plant origin (these products are consumed by adult ants). The majority of insects eaten by ants are forest pests: according to scientists' estimates, more than 21,000 larvae and pupae, consuming leaves, flowers and wood of various forest plants, are carried to a large anthill in one day. One medium-sized ant colony protects against pests about 1 hectare of forest.
It is interesting
In a large anthill, up to 500,000 ant workers can live.
An essential part of the diet of ants is made up by the sweet secretion of aphids, the so-called pad.
The red forest ants have their cohabitants and parasites. For example, in their anthills live bug-lomehuzy, highlighting the sweet secret and are able to even eat with impunity the brood of ants. Also in the anthill there are staphylin beetles, eating the remains of an ants table and even smaller ants. And parasites of these ants are some species of mites and riders.
In the photo - a red ant attacks a caterpillar.
Red forest ants are common almost throughout the forest zone of Eurasia. In Siberia, they are collected, dried and cooked from them with alcoholic tincture, which is treated with diseases of the joints and neuralgia. Partly because of this, partly because of the destruction of the anthills themselves, this species in some regions becomes rare and is now protected.
Uterus of red forest ants and peculiarities of their reproduction
Reproduction of red forest ants is a separate story. The uterus of red ants is not able to create a new colony on its own, and after the summer, which occurs mainly in the middle of July, young females always return to the anthill of their own species.
There they live or until the old uterus dies and replaces it, or until the population of the colony becomes too high and the colony does not have to share with the formation of the line. At the head of such a selection is the young fertilized uterus.
It is interesting
It is because of this specific method of reproduction that forest ants are very slow and difficult to move to new places. If another type of introduction is introduced, it is necessary to bring a hundred or more uterus caught after summer to a new locality, the colony of red forest inhabitants must be planted to a more or less independent state and then transported to a new location.
In the photo - a queen of red ants:
In general, red ants almost never occur polygyny: in their anthill reproduces only one uterus.
It is interesting
Studying how red ants multiply, scientists found that sometimes a fertilized uterus can penetrate an anthill of a related species, in which for one reason or another the native queen perished. Ants take a new uterus, and within a year the population of the anthill is completely replaced: new ants of a different kind replace the dying of old age or those dying when searching for food workers.
Another interesting detail of the reproduction of this species is the fact that in one year only one male or one female can fly out of a single anthill. This division prevents the crossing of ants from one colony.
Home red ant: malicious pest of kitchens
The red ants of the house are very different insects. They are also called pharaoh ants, since they were first discovered during the excavation of the Egyptian pyramids, but their true homeland is India.
In the conditions of Russia, they can not exist outside heated human premises, and therefore settle only in apartments, houses and businesses. No creative activity small red ants of the house do not differ, and settle in various crevices, spaces behind furniture, carpets and skirting.
Small red ants in the kitchen and other rooms eat any organic waste - crumbs left by open food, falling asleep in a secluded place with garbage.
In the photo - home red ants on the food path:
They do not disdain almost anything and therefore quite comfortable feel almost in any premises.
Colony of Pharaoh Ants
The colony of red house ants differs from the forest colony in that several queens can exist and multiply simultaneously. Moreover, domestic red ants are constantly actively creating daughter nests - in the kitchen, in the storerooms, in the ceremonial - having close ties to the main colony, but self-feeding and increasing in numbers. If one such nest perishes, the whole colony remains unscathed. That is why pharaoh ants are so hard to get out of the room.
Uterus of red house ants (in the photo - on the right) lives 4-5 years, it is larger than working individuals and has a characteristic coloration:
It is interesting to note that despite the most important function for the colony, the uterus of a red house ant is not at all "queen" - working ants calmly kill queens that stop working, or change them between anthills.
In general, if there are red ants at home, it is worth preparing for a difficult and very long struggle - in most cases it will not be possible to withdraw them for a day or two. But if you know what the red ants are afraid of, the systematic use of the right tools can be completely rid of them.
What the red ants are afraid of
The real natural poisons for red house ants are:
- borax and boric acid
- corn flour
- raw yeast, especially beer
- vegetable oil.
There are also substances, the smells of which scare the ants away. Among them, kerosene, denatured, turpentine, ammonia, wormwood, tansy. However, the use of all these tools is justified only to prevent the entry of ants into the room.
If insects in the house are already wound up, powerful poisonous agents - insecticides - should be used to fight them. Moreover, most of these modern tools are quite safe for humans.
But if a red forest ant was accidentally encountered in the house, do not destroy it. It is better to accurately catch and take out on the street. There, every such small toiler is very useful.