You can see ants roaming on the driveways or sidewalks in the summer season, which can help understand their interest towards sunlight.
Do Ants Need Sunlight? Ants need sunlight to perform nest activities, build colonies, remember routes, regulate body temperature, and continuity of species as they need warmth to reproduce. They build dome-shaped mounds to expose themselves to sunlight.
Ants have lesser resistance to changing environmental conditions and come out of their nests to sunbathe after hibernation when their bodies are not exposed to natural light for long.
They can also get attracted to desired places if you add a light source as it mimics their natural habitat or mounds designed to capture sun rays.
Why do ants need sunlight?
Sunlight is essential for survival for ants as their cellular activities halt at cold temperatures. They cannot perform well in the absence of the sun due to blurred vision and a cold environment.
Continuity of species
They need sunlight to ensure the continuity of species, as they cannot reproduce when the conditions are not favorable for egg production.
Moreover, their cellular metabolism gets slower when their bodies are not exposed to warm conditions for a long duration. You can find flying ants swarming on a sidewalk under direct light.
They prefer to breed in the early summer or spring season and swarm under direct light to increase their body temperature before engaging in the nuptial flight.
They produce hundreds of eggs and raise their population in warm weather or bright sunny days. So, they cannot raise progeny without this exposure and become prone to extinction.
Perform nest activities
The activities of the nest are dependent on sunlight, as some diurnal species get inside their nests when darkness prevails in their surroundings.
A few nocturnal species prefer to live in the dark and collect food at night as their behavior is slightly different from others.
Ants need light to navigate their territories, find suitable food sources and collect food to store for winter. Therefore, they keep themselves restricted to the nest when there is no bright sun.
They will only remain busy with internal activities of the nest, like feeding young ones and promoting the growth of larvae to become an adult.
So, you will rarely find them crawling on the ground surface in the darkness as they hide inside a nest when the sun sets in the evening.
It plays a crucial role in building homes as they prefer to live in sunny and moist areas. Therefore, they build mounds in areas where sun rays fall directly over them for better heat absorption.
Moreover, it becomes easy to find a location for a new nest when the sun rises because they can observe the territory for safety, food, and moisture before shifting.
The shape of their mound indicates the importance of sunlight for these tiny creatures, as queens and young ones need warmth to grow and perform their functions.
Accordingly, they build a dome shape structure in the soil to increase the surface area and absorption of heat.
The deeper anthills remain warm on the bottom when the external temperature gets lower, while you can see them on the top of the mound on a sunny day.
Remember the routes
Ants need light to see the path clearly and remember the routes to home when heading towards the food source far from their nest.
They memorize their routes according to the direction of the sun and follow it to get back to their mounds.
They can observe and memorize the sceneries in their surroundings in the light. In addition, it supports better vision as they have blur vision, making it difficult to see through the dark for a few species.
They face difficulty finding a nest in the dark, as they depend on a Sun’s angle to direct their movements.
The position of the sun and visual images can help them identify accurate routes in addition to chemical cues left by these tiny creatures on the ground.
Regulate body temperature
It becomes difficult for ants to survive in cold weather as these cold-blooded insects need warmth to keep their bodies at the ideal temperature.
Warmth does not mean that they can live under the burning hot rays of the sun as they like mild weather, and extreme changes can decrease their lifespan.
They need almost 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit temperature to complete their ideal lifespan. There is a risk of freezing to death when they are not exposed to sunlight during winter.
So, these insects expose themselves to sun rays frequently but for a short duration to regulate their temperature; otherwise, there will be a risk to their survival.
Do ants need direct sunlight?
The preference for shady and sunny areas varies according to the type of species, as some like to crawl in direct sunlight when the weather is mild for these tiny creatures.
You cannot see them moving on the hot ground surface mid-summer. However, a few enjoy indirect light by moving in shady areas.
Moreover, you can also find them getting closer to the artificial light source at night as they perceive it as a natural source of light.
These insects are known as blind, or those who have blurred vision that creates confusion about the attraction to the light source, but they can feel the warmth of the bulb when it is switched on.
The flying insects converge on a light bulb that is clearly seen when there is darkness everywhere.
You can see them swarming under direct sunlight on the sidewalk during the breeding season.
Furthermore, artificial LED lights do not appeal to these tiny creatures, as they only get attracted to UV light in addition to feeling the warmth of the light sources.
What type of ants get attracted to sunlight?
Some insects are afraid of light and prefer to stay away from the light source and live in the dark. However, a few ants get attracted to UV light, unlike termites, due to the warmth of the sun rays.
These insects do not like blue light, but the yellow color of sunlight forces them to come out of their nests to enjoy the sunbath.
Moreover, the carpenter ants alates fly higher to the ceiling and surround the filament bulb when switched on as its yellow light and warmth grab their attention.
In addition, fire ants also build their mounds in areas where light rays can reach their nests. As a result, you can find nests of these creatures in the open spaces of the garden.