When the an ar of Cappadocia uncovered itself divided in between hostile nations, fairly than flee, the civilization decided to destruction in. The see was written of soft volcano rock carved by erosion over millions of years right into odd towers and also pockmarked cliffs. Acquisition a cue indigenous the see itself, the human being of Cappadocia dug fortresses into the absent to escape persecution indigenous the at an early stage Romans, and also later, enemy Arabs. In some places, these fortresses thrived into underground cities that might house thousands of people. Some reached ten level deep, and they featured kitchens, sleeping quarters, chapels, warehouse chambers, and vast defense networks. They had actually doorways that might be sealed using hefty millstones, and also they had walls v strategic holes to hurl spears or pour warm oil top top their enemies below.

You are watching: How do ants build their homes

Located in what is now modern Turkey, these underground residences have remained mainly intact, and visitors have been fast to point out what they remind them of: the nests of ants. Humans have actually looked come ants together parallels of our very own societies due to the fact that the time ours ancestors very first began come settle right into cities. The old Greeks mused ~ above the habits of the ant and the grasshopper, and the Old Testament even gave ants a cameo (Go to the Ant, you sluggard…Proverbs 6:6). In Cappadocia, us don’t know specifically how the inhabitants viewed themselves, however it’s hard not to wonder what lock thought about ants.


How room ant houses comparable to our own houses? Left: Cappadocia, Nevşehir, Turkey; Credit: haitham alfalah (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cappadocia_.JPG); Right: Fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) mound cutaway; Credit: Alex Wild (http://bit.ly/103Q3Px)

My friends in ~ yourwidlife.org and also I space still interested in parallels between ant societies and our own – whether connected to disease dynamics, social behavior, or the constructed environment. We have begun to think the ant societies as models the our societies in the method that rats space models of our bodies. Here we list the peak 10 ways an ant’s home is similar to your house, despite feel cost-free to include to ours list. There are far much more than ten ways.

1.) Ant swarms have rooms and hallways.

Ant nest style is most likely as variable as the number of ant varieties on the world (close to 15,000 at last count), yet they share some usual features across species. Because that one, most ant swarms are modular and consist of chambers associated by shafts, which are similar to our rooms and hallways. This chambers may serve as nurseries for occurring larvae, storage rooms for seeds and other food, or royal chambers because that protecting the colony’s queen.


Clint Penick, with a Formica polyctena thatch mound in north Estonia.

2.) They room temperature controlled.

Central air and heating enable us to save our houses at a moderate temperature year round, and also ants have this ability too. Some, choose fire ants, develop mounds to capture heat from the sun, and workers relocate larvae inside to track their preferred temperature. Others, choose thatch ants, live close to the Arctic Circle and also build heaping piles the compost the release warm to keep the colony warm over winter. In the tropics, where too much heat is the problem, military ants construct nests the end of their very own bodies and readjust their place to aid cool the colony during the hottest component of the day.

3.) Some feature ventilation ducts.

Colonies the leaf-cutter ants are massive. Their colonies can be the exact same size together a new York studio apartment, and also they house tens of hundreds of workers. Inside, the ants prosper fungus come feed your larvae, and the combined mass the the ants and also their fungus gardens produces a large amount that CO2. Like us, ants require oxygen to breath, for this reason they build chimneys come circulate new air. As wind travels across the surface, wait blows in with the chimneys on the next of the nest, and stagnant air escapes from the chimneys top top top.

4.) Ants have actually garbage dumps (and rubbish workers!).

If you clock an ant colony long enough their OCD tendencies come to be obvious. These tendencies are intensified when it pertains to cleaning – ants will bring their very own sisters come the rubbish pile, kicking and screaming, if they odor a little off. Sheet cutter ants maintain huge garbage chambers, and also when workers change to garbage duty, they’re never ever allowed ago inside the main nest. They room the “untouchables,” people abandoned by society in order to protect against disease.

5.) Ants landscape.

Ants are professional gardeners. Some grow crops of fungus, however others present off an additional gardening skill: weeding. Harvester ants clear crop-circles about their nests, which space visible from Google Earth. Others, favor the lemon ants the Amazonia, weed some plant varieties while maintaining others to develop what locals call Devil’s Gardens. Ants may also collect specific seeds deliberately and also plant them roughly their nests to create their very own landscaping.

6.) Ant homes have a “smell.”

When you obtain home, carry out you ever notification that your house has actually a certain smell? miscellaneous familiar? Ants interact through scent, and also they recognize their household members by smell. Each colony has a distinctive odor that could be pertained to what a colony’s to be eating, their genetics, what kind of floor they nest in, or components still unknown. There is additionally evidence that humans connect through pheromones, though this is one of the many instances in which we know more about “them” than we do about us.

7.) Ants usage anti-microbial cleaners.

It deserve to be difficult to find a family members cleaner recently that no advertise some form of antibacterial property. Once ants advanced life underground, they necessary a method to prevent mold and also fungal an illness from spreading inside their colonies. Your number one defense: the metapleural gland. This gland is situated on their thorax and also releases one all-natural, antimicrobial cleaner the kills harmful microbes ~ above contact. No triclosan necessary.

8.) Ant nests have doors.

All ant colonies have an entrance patrolled by guards. Some types take this a step further, favor the turtle ants. Turtle ants have actually soldiers through disc-shaped heads the fit perfectly right into their nest entrances. This soldiers offer as life doors, and they manage who enters and who stays out.

9.) even with doors, lock still acquire unwanted guests.

Just choose our houses, doors aren’t sufficient to save out every types that might be trying to sneak inside. Specific species, dubbed myrmecophiles, or “ant lovers,” have actually co-evolved with ants to become dedicated house-guests. While our residences may be got into by cockroaches, ant’s challenge springtails. Choose our cockroaches, springtails scurry top top the floor and also eat small scraps. Ant swarms can be infested v scores of various other arthropods too, like beetles, crickets, spiders, caterpillars, flies, and silverfish.

10.) Ant homes are also infested by ants!

It might comfort you to know that also ants have actually to resolve ant problems. Ant workers might differ in size by 100-fold, and there room tiny species, like thief ants, that specialize in robbing food from larger species. Because that comparison, a theif ant invading a bigger ant’s colony would be comparable to a computer mouse invading her cupboard. After year of evolution, it’s feasible that ants have a far better way to attend to these unwanted guests than us, yet we’ll need to keep researching them to uncover out.

See more: What Hillary Clinton What She Doing Now ? Hillary Clinton

Clint Penick is a biologist with interests in advancement and evolution. Because that his past occupational he travel to India to study “How ants acquired their queen,” and also now he’s working in brand-new York City to study what ants eat and how ants respond to transforming temperatures.