Many people do not like ants, mainly if they had terrible past experiences when these friendly insects. They are unaware of the ecological importance of these insects as they control many environmental functions.
Can Ants Be Friendly? Ants can be friendly until you do not threaten their survival as they are companionable insects due to strong recognition power, build a healthy relationship with humans, animals, and plants, and control agricultural pests. In addition, they keep the environment free of decaying matter and live close to humans.
Ecologists know the importance of ants for an environment and claim that humans cannot survive without these tiny creatures.
Most people have got ant stings once in their lives and dislike these creatures, but they are friendly and do not bother until you put them in danger.
Why do ants become friendly?
Ants are friendly for a purpose as they build mutual relations with other organisms for food and shelter. They will benefit until you are doing good for these tiny creatures.
They are ecologically essential insects bringing a positive impact on Earth by interacting with different species on the planet.
Moreover, their total number is more than other species, but despite an increased population, they do not try to wipe out other populations and live peaceful life.
In addition, they remain busy in their activities as their sole purpose in life is to ensure the colony’s survival and propagation.
So, they get food from plants and improve plant growth, while humans offer shelter and get a clean house in return as they eat decaying matter.
However, they can bite you hard and inject poison into the skin tissues when you try to interfere with their activities or pick them up with your hand.
How do ants become friendly?
You can observe the behavior of ants to know whether they are friendly insects or not. In addition, some people keep a few of their species at home as pets that are not harmful to humans.
Power of Recognition
Ants are harmless and loyal only to their nest mates and fight for their protection when they find any fellow in trouble. They have good power of recognition based on chemical cues.
They can recognize the body odor of insects, which helps them differentiate their fellows from foreign organisms as each colony secretes specific chemicals to cover the bodies.
Moreover, they can only identify their owner when trained to recognize him. Conditional learning practices can help them learn their owners after long-term training.
Their brains can keep information for a short time that begins to fade over time, but they can be trained to recognize the owner.
Furthermore, they can easily identify friends and foes by detecting the label or body odor. Those with a matching label can enter the nest, while others are killed.
Build healthy relationships with plants
They have a loving relationship with plants as they mutually associate with each other for the long term. Some plants provide favorable nesting spots to these tiny creatures in addition to food.
The plant fruits and stems provide nutritious juice or sap to these insects that can help them get the energy to perform their functions.
They live close to the roots of the plant due to warmth and moisture, supporting their growth and survival. They can suck nutrients from roots and feed on soil insects or worms.
Moreover, they protect plants from herbivorous insects and animals and kill the attacking organisms by stinging their bodies. They can also help disperse seeds by taking them to nest.
They can prepare a fertilizer or compost by breaking the complex leaves into fine pieces. A great example of this relationship is an ant plant providing housing space in the form of domatia.
Accordingly, the whole colony of these insects can live inside these domatia on myrmecophyte and protect it from the attack of pests.
Control agricultural pests
They are friendly to some farmers as they can control the population of agricultural pests. Green ant is a biological controlling agent that helps remove harmful crop pests and increase crop yield.
Farmers prefer to use ant colonies to get rid of pests from their crops as it is an inexpensive and natural method to control agricultural pests.
Using chemical fertilizers is not safe for the environment as their residues can cause pollution and are expensive to purchase; that’s why these insects got preference.
Moreover, they helped maintain sustainability in agriculture and became good predators of non-honeydew-producing insects because they usually farm aphids and other mealybugs.
Improve environmental health
Ants are ecologically significant species and act as an indicator of environmental health. They are known to improve soil conditions by aerating the soil particles.
These insects keep dwelling deep into the soil and build complex tunnels and chambers to live there. These activities allow air to pass through the soil and reach the plant’s roots.
In addition, their population and species in the particular region indicate the region’s health as these insects live in healthy habitats.
Their decreased population indicates ecological disturbance and raises concerns for conservation groups to design projects for habitat restoration.
No competition with humans
A few species live in close association with humans without causing any potential harm. This is because they are not competing with other organisms and remain busy with their activities.
Foragers are born to feed and protect other nest members, while queens and males reproduce and increase population size.
They do not interfere directly with human tasks, but it sometimes happens indirectly or unintentionally as they can contaminate food and make them sick.
However, their positive impact suppresses a few side effects as they clean the houses by eating the dead insects and decaying matter.
They can efficiently work in collaboration with other decaying insects and extract nutrients from dead animals and insects. In addition, they can chew and degrade complex compounds in no time.
What type of ants are not friendly?
Some species of ants are naturally aggressive, like fire ants, that are known for their deadly stings when they come in direct contact with humans.
However, some of them are friendly until you do not interfere in their nests, as they continuously try to build a safe mound for many days.
These insects can tear the bodies of predators apart if they try to steal eggs and stored food from their nests. Most of them are of territorial nature and attack other organisms when they try to get entry.
In the same way, bullet and velvet ants are known for their deadly stings that can even kill a person in a few minutes by multiple stinging efforts collectively.
Furthermore, the bulldog ant is the most deadly species of these insects that can kill a larger animal within 10 to 15 minutes of biting and injecting venom.