to Account
Call Us

(855) 948-5816


Find Service Area

Ants Marching – Why Do Ants Walk in a Line?

Written by Aptive Environmental May 9, 2019

When you were a kid you probably sang, “The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah,” but have you ever stopped and wondered why ants march one by one, or if there is any truth to the song? Turns out, there is some truth to the classic nursery rhyme.

Why Do Ants Follow Each Other in a Line?

The reason ants march in a line boils down to scented chemicals called pheromones. Ants use pheromones to communicate with other ants. Ants will produce pheromones to warn other ants about a nearby predator, to tell other ants to help defend the colony, or to share the location of a food source. So what does this have to with an ant’s tendency to follow the leader?

When a worker ant finds food, or some other beneficial resource, she will lay down trail pheromones as she is returning to the colony. That way, other workers will be able to leave the colony and use the trail to find the resource. As other ants follow the trail, they will release additional pheromones. This makes the trail even more detectable. The worker ants will follow this trail to a tee until the food source is completely consumed or no longer available.

How do Ants Find Food?

Ants have a powerful sense of smell and rely on sensitive olfactory receptors found on their antennae to locate food. Compared to many other insects, ants have 4 to 5 times as many receptors making them highly adept scavengers. It is the worker ant’s job to find food for the colony’s queens, males and young. Using their olfactory receptors, worker ants will forage for food and leave behind trail pheromones if a food source is found. It is not uncommon for a worker ant to travel up to 100 yards away from the colony to find food.

When it comes to food, different types of ants prefer different types of food. For example, Argentine ants prefer sweet foods such as aphid honeydew, honey, syrup, and sugar. Meanwhile, fire ants are omnivores and feed on other bugs, meats, and sweets. When outdoor food sources are scarce, ants will look for food indoors. This is why it is common to find ants in your kitchen or bathroom.

How to Get Rid of Ants

Because each type of ant is different in terms of behavior and habitat, it is best to use a pest control expert to get rid of ants effectively and efficiently. An Aptive service professional will conduct a thorough inspection of your property and determine the best way to eliminate the ant colony, or colonies, you have. They will also provide you with helpful methods and suggestions to help prevent ants from returning and re-establishing colonies.

Based on your needs, climate, and the environment, an Aptive professional will be able to develop a suitable treatment plan. Your Aptive service professional will treat areas on your property where ant control products can be used responsibly and effectively. Ants are resilient little creatures so additional treatments may be necessary. With Aptive’s dedication to service and commitment to the environment, you can rest easy knowing your home is our priority.

Ants’ Movements, Communication, and Collaboration

Have you ever observed how ants communicate and work together to achieve common goals? Ants are fascinating creatures known for their complex social behaviors and efficient communication systems. They communicate mainly through pheromones, which are chemicals that can convey different messages such as alarm, direction, and identification. This communication is vital when ant colonies coordinate their efforts in foraging or defending their nest. For instance, when an ant encounters a food source, it will return to the colony leaving a pheromone trail. This trail helps other ants to follow the path directly to the food source, demonstrating an impressive level of teamwork. Moreover, ants can move surprisingly fast, considering their size, and have the ability to scale various surfaces, including walking upside down on ceilings. Their ability to adhere to walls and move along them is due to the tiny claws and adhesive pads on their feet. Additionally, their structured colony roles allow them to work together cohesively, making the colony more efficient and increasing their chances of survival. The unity and precision seen in their lines or rows when traveling reflect a well-organized system of navigation and mutual aid.

Aptive’s integrated pest management and firm commitment to the environment separate us from other pest control companies. If you have a pest problem that needs controlling, call Aptive Environmental today.

Curated articles for you, from our pest experts.

Close-Up Of A Black Ant On A Green Leaf With Water Droplets.

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023
A Variety Of Pumpkins And Gourds In Different Shapes, Sizes, And Colors Are Arranged On The Steps Of A Front Porch. The Steps Are Terracotta-Colored, And The Porch Is Flanked By Green Leafy Plants.

How to Keep Pumpkins from Rotting

Nothing says fall like newly-picked pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. These festive vegetables provide the perfect front door decor and after-school activity for kids. Unfortunately for homeowners, though, carved pumpkins will often last between just one to two weeks...

May 8, 2024
An Aptive Pest Control Specialist Waves To Two Children From Outside A House Window, With An Aptive Van Parked In The Background. The Children Are Sitting At A Table Inside, One Waving Back While The Other Is Drawing.

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Pest Control

It’s easy to recognize the need for pest control when we find a wasp nest next to the front door, or when a roach scuttles across the kitchen floor, but some issues may not be as visible. Sometimes a single ant on a countertop or a tick crawling up a pant leg can...

Feb 20, 2024
A Close-Up Of Two Mating Black And Orange Lovebugs On A Green Plant With Small White Flowers, Set Against A Blurred Green Background.

Lovebugs: Facts, Identification, and How to Treat Them

Lovebugs: these small insects may seem harmless, but they can quickly become a nuisance in the southeastern United States. With their unique mating behavior and rapid reproduction, lovebugs can swarm in large numbers during certain times of the year. But what...

Feb 12, 2024
A Close-Up Of A Norway Rat Eating Food Scraps From A Dirty Plate In A Cluttered Kitchen Sink.

The Rodent Riddle: A Guide to Rat Control and Identification

In the corners of homes and urban landscapes, rats lurk as stealthy intruders, capable of causing damage and spreading disease. Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation and understanding effective control measures are crucial for maintaining a more pest protected...

Feb 5, 2024
A Close-Up Of A Deer Mouse Sitting On Green Moss With A Blurred Leafy Background.

How to Treat Mice in the Home

Mice, those elusive yet troublesome creatures, have a knack for infiltrating our living spaces and turning a minor annoyance into a full-blown infestation. Understanding their characteristics and behavior is pivotal in effectively controlling these invaders....

Jan 29, 2024
Close-Up Of A Yellow Jacket Wasp With A Black Body And Yellow Markings, Perched On A Small, Gray, Hexagonal Paper Nest.

Understanding and Controlling Paper Wasps

In the intricate tapestry of nature, paper wasps play a crucial role, contributing to the balance of ecosystems by preying on various pests. However, when these buzzing architects decide to build their intricate nests in and around our homes, they can quickly turn from fascinating insects to potential pests.

Jan 8, 2024
A Cozy Living Room Interior With A Light Beige Sofa Adorned With Various Pillows, A Wooden Coffee Table With Decorative Vases, And Large Windows Showcasing A Snowy Outdoor Scene With Trees Covered In Snow.

Why You Need Pest Control in the Winter As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, many people tend to believe that pests die off during winter. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, winter can be a time of heightened pest movement as...

Dec 4, 2023
A Heat Map Of The United States Showing Pest Activity Levels Across Various Regions From March 10, 2021, To April 28, 2021, With Higher Activity Indicated By Brighter Colors.

Data, Patterns, and Pest Control

As a leading pest control provider, Aptive service professionals encounter all kinds of pest activity across the country. Our ability to monitor this pest activity has provided valuable insights into understanding the prevalence of specific pest types at different...

Aug 1, 2023
How To Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your...

Oct 20, 2022

Take back your home with pest control today.