Life Lessons We Can Learn From Ants

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We often think of ants as a nuisance and a pest in our gardens and home but few take the time to observe or get to know more about ants. A well-known SouthAfrican Poet and philosopher Eugene Marais said 'Go to the Ants you Lazy person, observe his ways and become wise' (roughly translated)

He spent a lot of time observing the ants and noted everything he found carefully down and eventually wrote a book called 'The soul of the Ant. Marais noticed that ants tirelessly organized labour for the benefit of their colony. They scurry day and night labouring, ever busy, some will protect the workers, others were scouts that are sent out to find food or alarm others of dangers.

They diligently store food for winter. They produce glycerol in their mouths that prevent them from freezing in the winter. Ants have no ears but communicate through vibrations in their legs through the ground. Ants are amazingly strong. One tiny ant can lift up 20 times its own weight. The equals to a 7 year old child lifting up a vehicle! They have poor eyesight, with many small eyes that can only detect movement, but they have an antenna that makes up for the poor eyesight. It also helps with communication and touch. Their claws can grip to any surface and the stinger injects formic acid.

Ants are found on all landmasses on earth, except Antartica.Their success in multiple environments is attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify their habitats according to their needs. Ants are able to tap resources and defend themselves. They have an interesting social system there is a clear division of Labour, Communication between individuals they have the ability to solve complex problems, parallels with human society. It is a sad fact that all over the world ants are exterminated as pests, yet in reality, they are assisting in the development of the environment.

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Ants live in large colonies often consisting of millions of ants. In each colony, there are 3 kinds of Ants. The Queen or Queens, female workers and males. The Queen and the males have wings but the females do not. For the Durion of her life the Queen will lay eggs. Soldiers protect the queen, defend the colony, gather food or kill and attack other colonies for food and nesting places.

An djust like humans in the past they take the eggs from their enemies, and when the eggs hatch the hatchlings become slaves, they have to take care of the babies, gather food for their Masters and build anthills...sounds very familiar does it not? They are extremely well organized and prepared. When they are looking for food they leave a pheromone o trail so they know where they have been. Ants have no lungs but oxygen enters through tiny holes in their bodies, and carbon dioxide leaves the same way.

If we as humans could adopt the characteristics of the Ant, our environment will be industrious and well organized. So next time when you want to step on an ant think how vastly we as humans are inferior to the Ant.

Know that ants are important in creating healthy soil. They turn and aerate the soil allowing water and oxygen to reach plant roots. Ants take seeds down into their tunnel to eat the nutritious elaiosomes that are part of the seed. These seeds then sprout and grow new plants. They eat a variety of organic matter and thus provide food for important organisms in the soil.

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Life Lessons We Can Learn From Ants. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Life Lessons We Can Learn From Ants.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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