Ants are the busiest creatures on the planet as they work according to their assigned jobs by older ones. However, they must be trained for the respective tasks before doing that task.
What Are the Jobs For Which the New Ants Are Trained? The jobs for which the new ants are trained are cleaners, builders, nurses, soldiers, and foragers. The older or mature ants train the new ones for their future tasks as they are not aware of their responsibilities. Foraging is considered the toughest job as they have to walk long distances for food or water and return to their nests.
Some female ants become a living storage or replete, and others become egg-laying machines in a colony that can facilitate a colony with a continuous source of food and eggs.
However, a few members remain inactive most of the time and work during mating seasons, as their task is to mate with reproductive females and participate in the fertilization of eggs.
What type of jobs are there for new ants in a colony?
There are different roles for ants in a colony that are essential for the survival of the whole colony when they all participate or collaborate with other insects for a better outcome.
Some ants have to perform the role of cleaners and take care of the maintenance of the nests. They remove dead insects and broken eggs from the nest floor to avoid the risk of infection.
In addition, the broken eggs can also attract other germs and insects to consume the protein-rich eggs and get energy. The risk of bacterial and fungal infection increases in dirty places.
Sometimes, these insects poop on the nest floor and make them dirty, which needs to be cleaned quickly by the cleaners in the colony to avoid health-related problems for larvae.
Moreover, both new and old ants can get sick from the poop because it can also contain harmful bacteria which can come in contact with the food particles and cause contamination.
They also groom themselves and nest members by cleaning their bodies and avoiding the risk of wound infection because their saliva has disinfectant properties.
These insects can pick up contaminating germs while navigating the territories and moving through trash bins while searching for food.
So, these ants can become future cleaners and are trained to keep the floors clean and throw the waste material out of the nests individually.
Builder ants are involved in building new nests and protecting old ones from damage caused by rains or other natural or physical factors.
They have to construct nests by digging the soil deep under the ground surface. These insects need to build narrow tunnels leading to different chambers within a mound.
Accordingly, they mix soil or sand with saliva to make strong nests that can absorb moisture but do not disintegrate when flooded after heavy rains.
Moreover, it results in the formation of dome-shaped nests with a raised top, allowing water to move away from the entry holes and help avoid flooding.
It requires a few days of training for new insects to become builders and perform the relevant tasks. They need to be directed by other members to create chambers within mounds.
Some colony members have to become nursing ants and take care of the inactive members of the colony. They have to take notice of the dietary habits of the queen and larvae.
Larvae need a good diet and nutrition for better growth and survival because they cannot develop into healthy pupae without food and moisture.
Accordingly, the pupae also need care and nourishment from nursing members to become larvae and adult ants that can efficiently perform nest activities.
In the same way, the queens depend on them for food and care as they spend most of their lives within nests and lay eggs.
Their egg-laying potential gets affected due to the unavailability of food. So, a few new ants have to perform nursing jobs by replacing old and dying nurses.
The new insects are trained for the job of soldier ants and are chosen for their bigger body size. The newer ants have big heads and mandibles that can help fight the predators.
These soldiers have to protect the colony and territories against invaders as their bigger bodies allow them to capture prey easily and inject deadly venom.
They must be trained to acquire fighting skills and win the battle by wounding or killing the attacker. The new insects possess larger teeth but do not know ways to use them for killing.
Accordingly, they learn skills to cause wounds by digging their mandibles deep into the skin of prey and predators, which is essential to protect their territories.
In addition, the stinging organs at the end of their abdomen can inject the venom from the poison gland into their bodies directly and cause allergic reactions in the prey body.
The foraging ants are named for their jobs as they have to forage for food and moisture in the territories or even go out of their territory in search of food sources. They are always busy looking for food items.
A large population of colony workers become foragers and are considered the most active members of the nest. They are rarely found in the nest as they keep walking to look for prey.
These foragers are usually smaller worker ants and carry the food particles back to their nests by holding them in the mouth or on the abdomen.
It seems challenging for these tiny creatures to hold the heavy particles in their mouth, but their bodies have incredible strength, allowing them to haul objects 20 to 50 times their body weight.
Why do new ants need to be trained for colony jobs?
The new ants in a colony are not aware of the tasks that they have to perform because they get no time to observe and learn the skills due to their shorter lifespan.
Accordingly, the older ants train these mature larvae for the jobs they must perform in a colony. Every nest member has to contribute to the survival of the colony.
The older soldiers choose the insects with big heads and train them for tasks soldiers perform to learn to fight and protect the territory.
Similarly, the foragers choose smaller workers to train them for the foraging tasks as they need to walk long distances and haul the heavy particles that require skills, practice, and effort.
The cleaners and builders also choose insects from a batch of a new generation that can perform the nest cleaning and building tasks.
What is the toughest job for which new ants are trained?
Almost all jobs are considered challenging in a colony because these tiny ants have to work hard at their level to bring the desired outcomes.
However, foraging is considered the toughest job because these workers have to travel several miles to find safe spots to shift their colonies or look for food.
They do not rest for hours and keep moving from one place to another, as inactive foragers can risk the colony’s survival.
In addition, the queen’s role is also challenging and crucial for the ant colony because she has to lay hundreds of eggs simultaneously to ensure the population’s continuity.
There will be no new ants to replace the old and dying ones because they die of old age when their lifecycle gets complete. Queen ants lay eggs in the colony and ensure survival.