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Little Black Ant




The Little Black Ant is common throughout the world. It gets its name from its jet-black color and its small size. Worker ants are tiny, only about 1/16th of an inch long! Queen ants are bigger at about 1/8th of an inch. Like all insects, ants have 6 strong legs and antenae that they use not only to touch but also to smell. Adult ants also have strong jaws, but they cannot chew food! Instead they suck the liquid out of their food and leave behind the dry solid parts.

Black ants are active both during the day and at night, often carrying food back to its nest. Did you know that ants can carry 20 times their body weight? They live at the edges of forests and near human homes. Black ant nests are usually built underground, but we can see the small domes that are the tops of their homes in the dirt aboveground. Sometimes these ants will also build nests in rotting wood or trees. Black ants often eat whatever 'human food' they can find: sweet fruit cores, bits of meat, cooked vegetables, or even crumbs of bread. They will also eat other insects that they find dead.

Ants live together in colonies. Each colony has at least 1 queen ant. The queen lays eggs that the worker ants will guard and care for. Like honeybees, worker ants look for food, feed the young, and defent the colony against enemies. At night workers will move the eggs and the young larvae deeper underground to protect them from the cold. Most of these eggs will hatch into grubs that become worker adults. It usually takes about 10 days for the eggs to hatch. Some ants have wings; when the colony gets too big, these ants will fly away, mate, and start a new colony.



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