Articles on Ants

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They might be eating your home, but termites play a vital role in ecosystems. Termite image from www.shutterstock.com

Hidden housemates: the termites that eat our homes

Termite damage costs Australian homes at least a billion dollars each year – but they are absolutely vital for ecosystems.
The common grey silverfish, Ctenolepisma longicaudata, in Sydney. Graeme Smith

Hidden housemates: book-loving silverfish

Silverfish have disappeared from our homes as book-bindings - their favourite food - have improved.
A queen bee tended by her workers … but take away her pheromones and they start to act strangely. Flickr/KrisFricke

Smells like queen spirit: royal pheromones in insect colonies

Much like people, insect colonies like to know if her majesty is at home. In the ants, bees, wasps and termites (the “big four” of the social insect world), the queen has long been suspected of using special…
Honeypot ants: living larder. Alex Wild (www.alexanderwild.com)

Even among ants, size matters more than shape

Worker ants are a funny old bunch, of many shapes and sizes. But they tend to get bigger and smaller much more often than evolving entirely new shapes, according to a new study. While most animals juggle…
When microbes cause ants to become zombies. Tommy Leung

Meet the enemy of killer fungus that turns ants into zombies

One of most famous fungi in the world is the “zombie ant fungus”. It takes over the mind of an ant, causing it to climb up a branch and cling to the underside of a leaf before mummification. Once locked…
Rest in peace, buddy. emil_95

Ant undertakers are always ready to take one for the team

Ants have been quite successful, evolutionarily speaking. They are found on every continent, apart from Antarctica. They fill a range of ecological niches, from the tops of towering rain forest trees to…
Spotting nests from the air may be the best hope of eradicating fire ants. © The State of Queensland (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) 2010–2013

Eradicating the red imported fire ant with remote sensing

Recently we reported on the issue of red imported fire ants in Brisbane – a pernicious pest, first detected in Queensland in 2001, that affects agricultural crops, native species and human health. Although…

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