Fire ants like these can give a nasty bite.
Millions of dollars are being spent on trying to eradicate fire ants from Australia. But that might not be the only way to deal with the invasive pest.
They might be a hated household pest, but ants actually live fascinating and complex lives.
shunfa The / shutterstock
Infected ants help the fungus to spread its spores and reproduce.
Argentine ants are a fact of life in many parts of Australia, but can still potentially be banished from Norfolk Island.
Invasive pest ants cause billions of dollars worth of damage to crops, and threaten some of Australia's World Heritage rainforests. The federal budget has pledged nearly $30m on wiping them out – but how?
The mouse who tidied the shed he lives in fascinated human viewers, but cleanliness isn't a virtue unique to humans.
Fire ant stings can be deadly to people who have an allergic reaction to their venom.
Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr
Invasive tropical fire ants spread by eating their fat useless sons.
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash
Ants have something similar to blood, but it's called haemolymph. Some insects use it in unusual ways. When threatened by a predator, blister beetles can squirt haemolymph from their knees.
Not many people realise ants can make their own medicine.
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that can kill germs. It is found in two things many ants love to eat: nectar and honey dew.
Not welcome: the African big headed ant might be small but it can be a pest if it gets in your home.
The ants were a threat to many native species on Lord Howe Island. They were also a pest if they got into your home.
Folklore says we might be able to predict the coming of rain by observing the behaviour of ants.
Ants have many tricks to deal with rain – like holding their breath, blocking nest entrances or drinking excess water and releasing it elsewhere by 'communal peeing.' But can they see rain coming?
New study shows parasitic Escovopsis fungus attacks the bacteria leafcutter ants use to protect themselves.
Ant colonies direct traffic flows of millions of individuals along the best routes – army ants even manage inbound and outbound lanes – but how?
Insects aren't known for having big brains, and slime moulds and fungi don't have any. So how do they solve challenges that test the ingenuity of human transport engineers?
How much an ant can see depends on its size.
In an ant's world, the smaller you get the less you can see. So how does that affect an ant's ability to avoid hitting any obstacle as it walks about?
Ants have an incredible instinct to help their comrades.
A giant ant carries a dead fellow in the name of cleanliness.
Ants produce their own antimicrobial chemicals to fight bacteria.
How do they each know what to do?
Researchers identified simple behavioral rules that allow these tiny creatures to collaboratively build elaborate structures, with no one in charge.
Here they come …
The things they'll do for love ...
Fire ants were first detected in Brisbane in 2001.
AAP Image/Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Improvements in knowledge and control methods mean eradicating the Australian invasion is challenging, but still potentially feasible.
Insects developed technology long before we did, so perhaps they can show us how to use it without damaging the planet.
Azteca ants, unsung heroes of coffee pest control.
Azteca ants are self-appointed protectors of coffee plants on Mexican plantations. But they have a lot to contend with from other insects.