Jobs that ant workers do

No individul in the ant family does a single job all his life. No one does all jobs too. Depending on conditions and needs each worker can leave the job it is doing in order to do something more important. Here are some of the most important jobs that ants do:

  • Inside the nest:
    • Waking up their sisters after hibernating-Ants that spend the winter closest to the surface wake up first as the temperature rises. Their job is to carry their sisters towards the surface.
    • Warming the nest-They go for a walk in the sun, accumulating heat, which they later give out inside the nest.
    • Storing food in their social stomach-They spend the winter with full stomachs, so that they have food supplies as the spring comes.
    • Taking care of the queen and the brood-They feed, clean, carry and defend them.
    • Taking care of the nest-Keep tunnels and chambers in good condition, build new ones, throw garbage outside the nest or at a special place
    • Tearing prey apart-They tear it in managaeble pieces.
    • Defending the nest-If there are no soldiers, workers keep the nest. At danger they alarm the others.

  • Outside the nest:
    • Hunting-Alone or in groups they attack different animals which can be used as food and carry them in the nest. It is not obligatory that they kill the animal.
    • Gathering nectar and seeds-They carry the nectar in their social stomach. They can later regurgirate it to other workers.
    • Managing aphids-Ants touch aphids with their antennae. Thereby aphids secrete a sweet juice, which ants eat. Some species make herds of aphids and protect them. Aphids feed on amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals from the juice of plants. However, this juice contains mainly carbo-hydrates. Aphids do not need them and that is why they throw them out. In fact ants eat their excrements.
    • Finding materials-They gather materials, which can be of use by building the anthill.

Note:Not all species of ants have all these jobs.