Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dumb Ants (and Random Facts- Ants)

Here's a little fact about ants you probably didn't know:
  • Black ants and Wood ants do not have a sting; instead, they are able to squirt a spray of formic acid. Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites.
Did you know that? Black ants don't bite-- they spray acid. Not just acid, but FORMIC acid, which is....HCOOH or something (thank you, high school chemistry).

The reason why I have become interested in ants is because yesterday, as I was minding my own business in the yard, they attacked me. Thousands of them swarmed up my left leg and --

Okay, slight exaggeration. I was washing something outside with the hose, and I guess I must have flooded their ant hill home and a plethora of them started to scramble around, and I didn't realize that some had started to crawl up my leg. But I shook them off and went back inside...where I realized that there were still a bunch of them all over my clothes and arms.

And their bites stung! Goodness, they didn't hurt, but they were annoying!

And that annoyance prompted me to look up facts about black ants and their bites...Hence the fact above. (Once again, thanks to high school chemistry) I knew that an acid can be neutralized in water (or something like that), so I took a shower, and now my skin is fine and I don't feel any stinging or anything.

But anyway, here are some other random facts about ants I found on the internet:
  • If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can, he could run as fast as a racehorse.
  • There are thirty-five thousand kinds of ants in the world.
  • The abdomen of the ant contains two stomachs. One stomach holds the food for itself and second stomach is for food to be shared with other ants.
  • Adult ants cannot chew and swallow solid food. They rely on juice which they squeeze from pieces of food.
EDITED: 1/19/11 2:18 PM: Corrected appalling grammar errors.

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