Ants are social creatures living in groups, as each colony comprises of thousands of members showing coordinated behavior.
Why Do Ants Swarm on Sidewalks? Ants swarm on sidewalks when searching for food at nearby locations or trying to attack predators to ensure their survival. Moreover, it indicates the presence of nests and a situation of war between two different colonies for territory. It indicates that ants show a willingness to mate or establish a new nest. Furthermore, they can be seeking warmth or protecting themselves from flooding during rain.
Ants come out of their nests when they have to collect food, move to a new location, carry their dead fellows, and fight for their defense.
Willing to mate
A swarm of ants on the sidewalk indicates that the female members of the colony are looking for compatible males to give rise to a new population.
In addition, queens avoid mating with the males of their own nest and look for winged males from other colonies, so they have to leave their nests.
Accordingly, these reproductive females leave their nests during favorable weather, like early summers, to breed with the male members of other colonies.
The disappearance of ants after a few hours indicates that these were willing to mate and engaged in nuptial flight.
Trying to attack the predator
Ants’ colonies have excellent coordination as they move out of their nests in the form of groups to reduce the risk of death from predator attacks.
Moreover, it is easy to fight for survival collectively, as it is challenging for only one member to win a war if there is a larger insect or a bird on the other side.
Accordingly, you can see ants swarm when they are going to attack predators for their survival. A few grab the legs and body of the prey and hold it tightly to avoid an escape.
Some begin to sting on different parts of the body until it dies due to less tolerance to their deadly stings.
Sometimes, they prefer to take dead prey back to their nest by lifting its body on their back. However, a few like to eat or break their body into different parts collectively on the death spot.
It makes it easy to kill prey having more than 1000 times the weight of one ant by following this strategy of attacking in groups.
Searching for food
A colony consists of foragers with abilities to navigate the surrounding areas for food to feed their young ones and queens.
The foraging workers begin to move in the territory searching for a food source, and return to the nest after finding a suitable source to call others.
In addition, these workers release food-related pheromones to call others on the spot to haul a piece of garbage.
It is difficult to carry a large food particle like a dead insect, so these prefer to take it collectively.
A few soldier ants also become part of the swarm as they are larger in size and can easily haul heavy objects on their bodies to drop them in nests.
So, it indicates that the group of workers and soldiers going to take food from the nearby areas.
Build a new nest
They prefer to live in a safe and comfortable environment where they can live without any threat of predator attack, food unavailability, and quick temperature changes.
Their bodies cannot handle low temperatures and lack of food for more than a few days, as freezing temperatures and dehydration lead to their death.
Accordingly, these prefer to leave their nests and shift to a new location providing a good source of warmth, food, and hidden space.
Therefore, ants swarm can be present on the sidewalks if the whole colony migrates to a different location or establishes a new nest within the concrete slab.
Ready for a territorial fight
They have territorial nature and become aggressive if another colony tries to invade their place. They do not share their food or nest with others and kill it immediately if someone tries to interfere.
Every colony has soldiers or fighting ants to keep an eye on foreign insects. Entry of foreign ants into their colonies can lead to a war where every member fights for territory until death.
Moreover, their swarm begins to attack foreign insects from the same or different species. These tiny creatures can efficiently fight for their defense using pincers and jaws.
Furthermore, dented abdomens, broken legs or antennae, and wingless insects indicate they are fighting for survival.
The ant mounds are at risk of destruction during the rainy season as the rainwater enters deep into their nests and causes flooding.
The loss of habitat affects their lifespan as they cannot live without a nest for a long time. It can also lead to flooding of workers, males, queens, etc.
All of them begin to float over the water until they find a dry place, and a few members cannot maintain a floating position for long and die.
Accordingly, the ants living in the garden soil move to areas slightly higher than the ground to ensure their safety in the rainy season.
They will move inside small holes of concrete material in the sidewalks to avoid flooding.
Ants do not come out on the sidewalk for a whole year, as you can only see their swarm in the spring or early summer when the climate is neither too hot nor too cold.
You can most commonly find them under shady areas on the sidewalk, with shady trees filtering the sun’s rays.
Direct exposure can lead to dehydration, or their small bodies can get baked due to long-term exposure; that’s why they prefer to live in shady areas during hot weather.
Therefore, these insects can roam on the sidewalks in search of warmth to keep their bodies at ideal temperatures.
Moving to a water source
Water is essential for ants’ survival, as their bodies begin to desiccate due to lack of water leading to death; that’s why they prefer to live in humid areas.
You can find them living in the potted plants providing a shady and moist place to keep them away from the hot sun rays. Their requirement for water consumption increases in hot weather.
Sprinklers in the garden keep the soil moist and attracts these insects to come out of their nest to fulfill the water requirements of their bodies.
You can find a swarm of these tiny creatures around the sidewalk when they are going toward a moisture source, as they can only live for 4 to 5 days without water.
Furthermore, these insects can also go inside the house in search of moisture as bathroom and kitchen sinks remain wet most of the time.