Are Driver Ants Dangerous?

Driver ants have several other names, like saifu, safari, visiting, army, etc. They are famous for their attacking behavior because these insects raid in groups to kill their prey.

Are Driver Ants Dangerous? Driver ants are dangerous because they are highly aggressive predators, nomadic species, and have carnivorous nature. Moreover, they can kill animals and even humans due to their venomous stings and painful bites by attacking in raids. They are difficult to control due to their bigger colony size.

Driver ants appear in a reddish-brown or brownish-black color and are fast runners that can overwhelm prey in a short time. Their bodies are equipped with weapons to fight and kill prey.

Why are driver ants dangerous?

Saifu ants are considered dangerous insects for different reasons, including their deadly attacks, stinging nature, and aggressive behaviors.

Highly aggressive predators

Driver or saifu ants belonging to the genus Dorylus are known to be one of the deadliest species on the planet. They are highly aggressive by nature and attack prey voraciously.

Moreover, they do not have any discriminating parameters for prey animals because the worker ants are blind and bite to kill all organisms after an encounter.

Their colonies have workers that are blind and larger soldier ants that can potentially kill any bigger organism whenever they feel a threat in their way.

They move in a larger group by forming a thick trail that can take revenge by attacking if you have squished one of their members under your feet.

The threatened blind workers can quickly run up your leg and bite aggressively, leading to some allergic reactions in the affected area.

Able to kill humans

The army ants can kill bigger prey if they have any threat of attack from animals or even humans. They can sting and inject poison into the prey’s body to cause pain.

Humans can be at risk of death when they interfere with the trail of driver ants passing through their backyard in a massive line. They pierce skin using a stinger and transfer formic acid.

Their trails can contain a hundred thousand insects that are supposed to attack in raids to increase the chances of success in their attacks.

It rarely happens when they target a human, but you have to be quick in getting away from their trail to avoid stings; otherwise, they can make you fall due to extreme pain.

Moreover, their stings are quite painful as their venom gives rise to severe allergic reactions, particularly when a large number of insects are stinging at once.

Engage in powerful bites

These bigger insects can reach almost 2 to 3 mm in body length, while soldiers can get nearly 10 to 14 mm longer. Their queens are the biggest members of the colony, reaching 2 inches in length.

Accordingly, they possess bigger heads and mandibles to cause wounds in the prey’s body after powerful bites. Commonly, these insects bite to cause deep injuries and avoid stinging.

Removing these insects from the body once they have dipped larger mandibles into the skin is difficult because they dig deeper into the tissues by puncturing the skin.

The wounds can get bigger or more painful if you try to pull them out of your body with force because they have pointed teeth that are sharp enough to make you bleed.

Nomadic or migratory ant species

Driver ants are known as visiting ants due to their migratory behavior, as they do not build permanent nests and keep moving on the ground from one place to another.

They build temporary nests and feed inactive colony members to start a new journey. The workers hold queens and larvae with their mandibles and legs by interlocking with each other.

In addition, their behavior of wandering at different places makes it difficult to control their population, as they keep changing their nest locations.

These nomadic species are pretty creative because they build bridges by clinging together when they have to cross water or climb higher trees or other surfaces.

Risk of death to animals

The army ants are carnivorous insects and get nutrition from insects and other animals, as they prefer protein-rich meat instead of carbohydrate-rich fruits and vegetables.

Driver ants are not attracted to sweet food items and are drawn towards the pet food bowl rich in proteins. Moreover, they can get inside the enclosure of penned animals and bite their bodies.

In addition, they can also attack other animals like lizards, snakes, frogs, and even birds when they find a bird’s dead body on the ground surface during the walk.

This migratory species of ants commonly devour some invertebrates and smaller vertebrates to get nutrition and allow larvae to grow in size to become adults.

Furthermore, their biting potential allows the killing of animals by attacking collectively, as millions of insects are usually a part of their trails that can be clearly seen while moving.

Difficult to control these ant colonies

Driver ants have massive colonies containing millions of insects from different castes, including workers, soldiers, and queens performing functions to ensure colony survival.

A small size colony can have almost 10,000 members, while bigger or established ones can have up to 50 million insects that usually live in connected nests.

All these insects become a significant threat to humans when they hunt or fight for their defense, so it is pretty challenging to control their large colonies.

Moreover, these dark brown-colored insects are usually outdoor pests and attack insects in the garden or backyard, but you have to be careful not to interfere with their massive trails.

Where are driver ants found?

Driver or safari ants are terrestrial insects invading suitable places to live on the ground as they need plenty of food, water, and a shady environment.

It is also known as African driver ants because these insects are native to Africa and occupy the regions in Central, South, and Eastern Africa, in addition to some other countries.

You can also find these insects in tropical Asia and US states to be native or introduced species due to people’s interest in keeping the world’s deadliest and most dangerous species.

Moreover, they prefer to live in a warm and shady environment keeping their body temperature at an ideal level and avoiding drying of the exoskeleton due to direct sun exposure.

Most commonly, these insects choose tropical environments because it suits their temperature demands. The natural habitats include grasslands, scrublands, and rainforests.

They choose humid areas to build their temporary nests because they cannot live without drinking water. Furthermore, you can find their colonies in forests living on trees and shrubs.

How long do driver ants live?

Driver ants have a longer lifespan, allowing them to keep their colonies growing for many years. Their lifespans vary according to the castes in a colony and environmental factors.

The colony workers can survive for almost 10 to 12 months, as they have more risk of predator attacks due to increased exposure to external factors.

The drones or reproductive males cannot live long and die after transferring sperm to females because their only purpose is to mate.

However, the queens are the longest-living insects in their colony because she spends most of their life within the colony and remains protected by the bigger soldiers.

She can live for almost 15 to 20 years and keep adding new larvae to the nest that can overlap with the older adults sometimes. So, it means you have to kill queens to control colony growth.

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