Ants are crucial for the sustainability of the environment as they play essential roles in the food chain and plant growth. Their absence can lead to devastating effects on the planet or loss of life.
Moreover, it is not possible to imagine life on Earth without these widespread species of ants having a larger population than humans.
What Would Happen If All Ants Died? Death of all ants can lead to a reduction in the productivity of plants and the extinction of animals dependent on these insects for food. Moreover, their absence can cause disturbance in ecological balance by increasing the population of pests. It can destroy the food chain, and the termite population will increase uncontrollably. Furthermore, there will be poor soil aeration, poor dispersal of seeds, and slower decomposition of dead bodies.
Protecting the ants’ species is essential because their population is severely declining due to the excessive use of insecticides and environmental pollution.
Human activities, like artificial lighting and the use of fertilizers, are responsible for posing a threat to their survival, leading to disturbance in the ecological balance.
It is better to repel these tiny creatures using natural ingredients and discourage them from entering the house instead of using harmful chemicals.
Their extinction will lead to the destruction of food chains and an increase in the number of pests in the environment that will be difficult to get controlled.
Reduction in productivity of plants
The productivity of plants is affected by exposure to sunlight, water availability, external temperature, and the presence of ants.
These insects can kill crop pests affecting crop yield and are considered better than insecticides in terms of efficiency, as they have no negative impact on the crop.
Weaver ants are known to kill the pests affecting the crop of cashew nuts, as they cannot tolerate the entrance of foreign insects into their territory.
Moreover, this species has incredible aggression that can not only kill other insects but are also effective against birds and animals, causing damage to fruit like bats and snakes.
Furthermore, these are grown by farmers and released into the crops to deal with crop pests and positively impact yield.
Extinction of ant-eating animals
Ants are considered a primary and secondary source of food to some insects, birds, and animals getting nutrition from their bodies.
Due to their quick and massive reproduction, they are a constant food source for many common insects like lizards, spiders, and caterpillars.
In addition, aardvarks also get food from them in the summer when these insects are crawling on the ground and shift their diet to termites in winter when ants hide.
Members of Myrmecophagy, including silky anteater, giant anteater, and collared anteater, depend solely on these tiny insects, comprising 85 to 95% of their diet.
Moreover, bears, pangolins, eastern moles, sparrows, and hummingbirds prefer to feed on the adult and young brood in addition to humans, which like to eat honeypot insects.
The population of anteaters begins to decline, or even these animals can become extinct if all ants die.
Poor soil aeration and fertility
Ants usually live inside the soil close to trees, as it is the preferred habitat of these insects. They need a humid environment and penetrate deep into the soil.
Moreover, this behavior is favorable for plants because these insects live under the ground and build tunnels, allowing water and air to reach the plant’s roots.
The plants can die due to excessive water absorption if no air evaporates. These insects are symbiotically associated with plants, and their absence can lead to plant death.
In addition, their absence can reduce the soil’s fertility as they carry leaves into their nests. The rotten leaves become good fertilizers and provide nutrients to plants.
There will be no ecosystem stability if this insect disappears from the planet at once.
Slower decomposition of dead organisms
Ants are good decomposers and scavengers that can consume dead organic matter like plants and feed on the carcasses of dead animals.
They are known as environment cleaners because they remove waste material from the planet by eating rotting fruits, dead bodies, and even dying plants.
Moreover, they can efficiently extract nutrients from complex compounds to fulfill body requirements and clean the environment by eating the dead bodies of cockroaches or lizards.
Many bacteria and other germs attack dead bodies, in addition to these insects that can collectively degrade the complex structures quickly and leave hard skeletons behind.
There will be a slower decomposition of the dead organisms when there are no ants to aid bacteria in decomposing the bodies of deceased animals.
Uncontrolled termite population
Termites are structural pests that can destroy wooden buildings and furniture and are known to cause damage on a large scale.
More than 2000 species of termites are present on the planet that ants control because both are deadly enemies and kill each other.
Most prefer to live inside dry or damp wood and build their nests within frames of windows, doors, beds, sofas, and even attics.
They are less harmful to humans but have prominent or devastating effects on buildings, leading to costly repairs. They can control their population, as they are natural predators of termites.
It is essential to control their population; otherwise, the annual loss of $4 to $6 billion will exceed almost $8 or $10 billion within the United States.
Furthermore, these destructive pests will grow uncontrollably in the absence of ants, causing severe damage to buildings and increasing overall loss.
Poor scattering of seeds
Ants are responsible for dispersing seeds in the territory and are considered vectors, as they reach plants in search of food and bring fruits and seeds back to their nests.
Moreover, foragers carry seeds, particularly those having elaiosomes, to get nutrition. Therefore, they will consume elaiosomes and discard the seed, which leads to the generation of a whole plant from it.
They are engaged in a mutualistic relationship with plants providing benefits to each other, as these insects get nutrients from seeds to feed larvae and spread them to far regions.
Most commonly, seeds of bloodroot and violets are dispersed to different places by these tiny creatures and other plants in the forests of deciduous trees.
The dispersal rate depends on the size of the ants, as larger ones can lift them to a long distance, while smaller ones can only take them to nearby areas.