Why Do Ants Build Mounds After a Rain?

Why Do Ants Build Mounds After a Rain?

The ant mounds become visible everywhere after rain, and many of you have probably seen them around your house, buildings, and gardens,

The mounds are the piles of soil or clay present above the ground with many intricate channels inside them.

Why Do Ants Build Mounds After a Rain? Ants build mounds after rain and remain inside a huge pile of soil because they have a risk of drowning in the rainwater due to their small size. In addition, mounds provide a warm temperature during cold weather. Mounds contain chambers and tunnels inside that provide a storage place for food and help incubate their eggs. Moreover, it acts as a barrier to rainwater and predators and avoids flooding and deadly insects like spiders and beetle. Furthermore, the ants use mandibles and legs to dispose of the soil away from their nest. Ants can build several inches high mounds in 2 to 3 days that can last longer and do not require rebuilding.

The presence of soil mounds indicates that ants are living under them. Ants can adapt to the changing environment by devising strategies to secure their colonies.

Moreover, the mounds are the resting place for these insects when the conditions are unfavorable for their survival. They come out of their shelters when the ground gets dry, and they can move quickly.

What are the reasons that ants build mounds after a rain?

There are many reasons behind this defensive strategy like they protect themselves from the cold weather and regulate the internal temperature of their nest.

So, these insects build mounds during rain and shift their colonies and queen to stay inside a pile of soil.

Assure safety

The ants build mounds to ensure their safety against predator attacks. However, many insects leave their nest after rain and come out searching for food, so there is a risk of predators attack to ants.

Moreover, beetles can cause damage to the ant’s eggs and their queen because they can burrow down quickly to reach the colony.

Therefore, the ants take their queen and larvae under the soil piles to protect them from predators.

Maintain warm temperature

Ants cannot resist the cold temperature efficiently, so they remain in mounds during the rainy season that provides warmth to their bodies.

These insects prefer to build mounds in a direction where sun rays can fall on them directly.

They transfer their larvae to the top during the day and move deep into the mound during the night when the temperature drops.

Storage of nutrients

Mounds contain deep channels and tunnels where these insects can easily store their food.

Then, they can utilize the food for getting nutrition when they have to remain in the tunnels for a long time. So, their food remains safe from the water, and the rainwater does not wash it away.

Protection from drowning

Ants can drown in water, so they can avoid their immersion by building a shield over them in the form of a soil mound.

The mound is a cone-shaped structure usually that diverts water away from the colony and falls on the sides of the soil pile.

Incubating eggs

The mounds provide a perfect environment for hatching the eggs. In addition, it safeguards the eggs from damage and provides a suitable temperature for their incubation.

In addition, the queen can hatch these eggs under ideal temperature conditions, and the eggs can transform into larvae.

Secure the colony

These insects protect their shelter from flooding through rainwater by closing the entrance. A huge pile of soil over the nest can avoid the entry of rainwater into the chambers of their colony.

The soil can absorb the water efficiently, or the water moves down towards the sides when the rain falls directly on the top of a cone-shaped mound.

How do ants build mounds after the rain?

Ants are very active and energetic insects that assure their survival during and after rain when there is water all around their nest.

The worker ants use twigs, soil, and sand to build the high mounds over their nest. In addition, they avoid using stones because they are tiny organisms that cannot bear the heavy weight of stones.

They dig deep into the soil and throw the dust particles outside the nest using their legs and strong mandibles.

These insects dispose of soil away from the nest and deposit a pile of soil particles around the entrance.

Moreover, these insects prefer to build their mounds near the trees or their roots on the soil surface. They use sharp mandibles for carrying the tiny particles of soil.

They can efficiently dig in the soil and create tunnels many feet down the ground. Similarly, they collect a pile of soil several meters high on the ground surface.

However, the maximum height of a mound is almost 12 feet, and ants need many years to reach this mound height.

How long does it take ants to build mounds after the rain? 

The time taken by ants for building mounds depends on the ants’ species and the height of the mounds. In addition, the location also matters where these insects make mounds over their nest.

The fire ants and Argentine ants are very fast in building mounds. Moreover, each colony of worker ants makes collective efforts and works in harmony so that they can create mounds quickly.

It can take some weeks or even years to build a mound of a good height. However, 36 to 48 hours are enough on average for the ants to build small mounds.

These structures remain intact for a longer time and do not require rebuilding after some time until the intruders do not disturb them. This is because the ants live for several years, and they will keep their mounds safe.

Do all ants build mounds when it rains?

Ants need to protect themselves and their larvae from the rainwater, so they devise strategies like building mounds or moving to indoor areas.

Many ants prefer to have mounds over the ground, but some ants choose indoor places to hide. For example, they transfer their colonies and larvae inside a house and obtain food from the kitchen and the trash bin.

The soil nesting ants make mounds on the soil and hide under soil particles. At the same time, some of these insects hide in the small gaps on the pavement and build craters.

So, all the ants do not build mounds when it rains to protect themselves from drowning. Instead, some insects choose other hiding places, like buildings and concrete pavement.

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