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why are ants so smart?

Ants use Sun and memories to navigate

 

"ACES pest control sees how smart insects are, in particular ants on a daily basis. 

In fact Universities once pondered why an ant would slave and give its life for the colony or nest when they get nothing in return. The answer was to be found in looking at the nest as a single organism. This maybe why ants seem so smart, because its the collective thinking of the nest we are seeing.....here an article on just how smart ants are. "


"The brain of an ant is the size of a pinhead"

Ants are even more impressive at navigating than we thought.
Scientists say they can follow a compass route, regardless of the direction in which they are facing.
It is the equivalent of trying to find your way home while walking backwards or even spinning round and round.
Experiments suggest ants keep to the right path by plotting the Sun's position in the sky which they combine with visual information about their surroundings.
"Our main finding is that ants can decouple their direction of travel from their body orientation," said Dr Antoine Wystrach of the University of Edinburgh and CNRS in Paris.
"They can maintain a direction of travel, let's say north, independently of their current body orientation."
Ants stand out in the insect world because of their navigational ability.
Living in large colonies, they need to forage for food and carry it back to their nest.
This often requires dragging food long distances backwards.
Scientists say that despite its small size, the brain of ants is remarkably sophisticated.
"They construct a more sophisticated representation of direction than we envisaged and they can incorporate or integrate information from different modalities into that representation," Dr Wystrach added.

"It is the transfer of information aspect which implies synergy between different brain areas."
UK and French researchers came up with their findings by studying desert ants.
Experiments suggest the ants kept to the right path by following celestial cues. They set off in the wrong direction if a mirror was used to obscure the Sun.
If they were travelling backwards, dragging food back to their nest, they combined this information with visual cues. They stopped, dropped the food and took a quick peek at their route.
Scientists say the work could have applications in designing computer algorithms to guide robots.
Prof Barbara Webb of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics said the ant can navigate much like a self-driving car.
"Ants have a relatively tiny brain, less than the size of a pinhead," she said.
"Yet they can navigate successfully under many difficult conditions, including going backwards.
"Understanding their behaviour gives us new insights into brain function and has inspired us to build robot systems that mimic their functions."
She said they have been able to model the neural circuits in the ant's brain.
The hope is to develop robots that can navigate in natural areas such as forests.

The research is published in the journal Current Biology.

By Helen Briggs


how to get rid of ants

How do I get rid of ants?

 

Although ants generally don’t cause harm to people — they don’t carry disease, like some other pests — an infestation can be a major nuisance.

“Ants can be extremely persistent creatures, seemingly coming from nowhere and can be difficult to entirely get rid of,” says Kelly Garvin of Greenix Pest Control in Dublin, Ohio.

Fortunately, DIY and professional pest removal options are available.

REASONS FOR ANT INFESTATION

Ants typically invade your home for one reason: food. Most feed on sugary or greasy items.

Sugar ants — also called odorous house ants — are one of the most common ant invaders and among the first pests to show up in the spring. They’re about one-eighth of an inch or smaller and are attracted to food sources.

The common pavement ant, which is brown to black and about 1/10th of an inch long, will set up colonies near driveways or patios and then send out scouts to search for food in your home. They eat meat, grease, seeds, dead or live insects, and can sting and bite if disturbed.

Argentine Ants — about 4 to 4.5 mm long ONE size.  Usually come into your house for food. Loves protein and fat, often found in your dishwasher or pantry.

Coastal Brown Ants- two sizes. Dark brown, loves protein often found in dishwasher. Two sizes one has a BIG head.

Knowing what type of ant you’re dealing with can help you prevent or combat an infestation.

KEEPING ANTS OUT

The first step to prevent an ant infestation: clean house. If you see scout ants in your home, kill them immediately. Make sure you don’t leave any food out and keep all kitchen surfaces clean.

If you continue to see ants, make sure you’ve closed off possible entry points, including sealing small cracks in your walls or under windows. Start by caulking potential entry points, such as window casings.

Next, you can lay down barriers like salt or talc under doors to turn ants away, or apply scents such as vinegar, peppermint oil or cinnamon. Bear in mind, however, that anything you put down will also be of interest to pets and children, so be careful what you use.

DIY METHODS FOR ANT REMOVAL

If ant explorers have morphed into a full-on colony, then you need a plan.

Start with soap and water. This will not only kill chemical trails, but any ants it touches. Add citrus to the water to increase its effectiveness.

You can also purchase pest sprays and baited ant traps from local grocery and hardware stores. These use a mixture of sugars and ant poison, such as boric acid to attract, trap and kill ants. Proceed with caution when using poison.

Bear in mind, too, that these traps won’t work on protein-feeders like Coastal Brown or Argentine Ants, since the sweetness won’t interest them.

In addition to trapping ants inside, you can also spray around the exterior of the home where the house meets the pavement or ground to prevent more ants from infiltrating, says David Anderson of Eastside Exterminators in Woodinville, Wash.

Garvin recommends spraying problem areas with a mixture of Windex, vinegar and water. She says spreading Diatomaceous Earth in carpeted areas around the bathroom is a safe and natural way to kill ants because it’s a food source.

“The Windex or vinegar is really a quick fix and not really that effective, but it will remove the immediate ants and wipe away their pheromone scent they use to follow trails,” Garvin says.

Dan Miles, owner of Total Exterminating in Indianapolis, suggests spraying all cracks around the baseboards and the base of the toilet if the infestation is in the bathroom.

HIRE A PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONAL

Large-scale infestations require assistance from a pest control professional.

Pros address ant problems by locating the colony itself; typically this starts by laying bait traps, which contain poisoned food taken back to the nest. Once found, exterminators can use a variety of techniques including chemical sprays to totally eliminate the ants in your home.

 

Modified from  Tom Moor Article