Ants: Our Little Helpers

Ants cleaning up

Ever wish you had some busy little servant that would clean up after you? Well, just go outside and there are millions of them!

When I think of ants I think, ‘Little garbage men of the earth’. Anything that can be eaten by them will be deconstructed and removed for recycling as food in their ant homes. Whether it’s somebody’s leftover food or a dead insect, ants can be found moving in to take over the cleanup job.

Once, years ago, before I was such a wonderful housekeeper . . . (guffaw), I noticed the nut meat of an almond on the floor in my home. I didn’t pick it up and throw it away and by the next day I noticed that ants had discovered it. I watched over several days as they completely deconstructed the almond, and removed every trace of it. I was fascinated. How did they find it? I had not seen any ants in the house previously.

Once, while sitting quietly in the woods I noticed four ants moving across the forest litter on the ground, together, in a very unique way. I had never seen this behavior before. They were obviously searching as they went. The first three went to the left and right, covering different little areas, and the last one made bigger, wider sweeping motions as he appeared to be double checking the whole area the other three ants had covered. They moved along methodically, as a group. They did not appear to be following a scent trail, they appeared to be scouts. They were scouting for something new. I was in awe of their intentional and organized movements. Ants are truly amazing creatures.

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