Where Do Ants Live?

Are you prepared for a picnic? Here in Wonderopolis, we enjoy taking a blanket and a large basket filled with food to our favorite picnic spot by the lake. However, there is always one issue: unexpected guests. Who are these guests? Ants, of course!

But where do they come from? When we choose our picnic spot, we never see any ants nearby. However, as soon as we bring out the food, they appear! Are they hiding and waiting for us?

Ants usually live in large communities known as colonies. While some insects and animals live alone and search for food individually, ants live with numerous other ants. Each ant in the colony has a specific role that benefits the entire group.

If you have ever observed an anthill, you may have noticed ants marching back and forth, carrying dirt, leaves, and other materials that they can use for the colony. Ants are diligent workers who can carry objects that weigh many times their own body weight.

Ants have realized that working together towards a common goal is advantageous. It would be difficult for a single ant to survive alone. However, by working together, ants can distribute all the necessary tasks, ensuring the survival and prosperity of the entire colony!

Ant colonies are highly organized groups. Most colonies consist of three types of ants: the queen, the males, and the workers. The queen mates with the males to lay as many eggs as possible, ensuring the colony’s population remains strong. The workers, who are female ants other than the queen, undertake the rest of the work, such as gathering food, constructing the nest, and defending it from intruders.

So, how many ants can live in a colony? If you have ever come across an anthill near your house or school, you may have seen what appeared to be hundreds of ants crawling around it. However, the largest ant colonies can be much larger than that. It is not uncommon for some ant colonies to contain millions of ants!

Ants have become so proficient at cooperating that they can be found almost everywhere on Earth. The only places without ants are Antarctica and a few remote islands.

When ants establish a nest, they often dig into the ground or seek shelter under rocks or fallen trees. They begin with a small nest and expand it as needed to accommodate new ants. Some burrows can be identified by small mounds or anthills that serve as entry and exit points for the nest.

As the nests grow, they can become incredibly large and intricate, consisting of interconnected tunnels and chambers. Some ant colonies occupy nests that cover an entire acre or more!

Try It Out

Ready to observe ants up close? All you need to do is gather a few friends or family members and have a picnic! Alternatively, you can try one or more of the following enjoyable activities:

Ever thought about how many different types of ants exist? Could there be dozens? Maybe even hundreds? What about thousands? Conduct some online research on the various types of ants found around the world. Based on your findings, select two or three types of ants and gather as much information about them as you can. Compare and contrast these ants by creating a chart that outlines different criteria such as their habitat, diet, and physical appearance. Share your research with your friends!

Feeling up for a challenge? Grab a friend or family member and venture outside to search for ants. You might come across some in your backyard or at a local park. Look for signs of a large ant colony. Are there any small mounds of dirt near the base of trees or plants? Once you find some ants, take the time to observe them closely. What are their behaviors? Where do they go? Can you locate their nest? Bring along a notebook and pencil to jot down your observations. If you’d like, you can even sketch a picture of the ants you encounter. Feel free to share your ant adventures with your Wonder Friends on Facebook. We’re excited to hear about your experiences!

If you opt for a picnic, you’ll need a couple of snacks. Check out these ant-themed picnic recipes and choose one to bring along on your outing!

– Ants on a Log

– Ants at a Picnic Cake


1. Where do ants typically build their nests?

Ants can build their nests in a variety of locations depending on the species. Some ants prefer to nest in soil, creating intricate tunnels and chambers underground. Others may build their nests in decaying wood, such as tree stumps or fallen logs. Certain species of ants, like carpenter ants, are known to construct their nests inside wooden structures, such as houses or fences. Additionally, ants can also create nests in cracks or crevices in rocks or pavement.

2. Can ants live indoors?

Yes, ants can live indoors, especially if they find a reliable food source. Common indoor ants, like the Argentine ant or the odorous house ant, may establish their nests inside walls, cabinets, or under appliances. These ants are attracted to sugary or greasy foods, so keeping your kitchen clean and free of crumbs can help prevent them from infesting your home. If you notice ants indoors, it’s important to locate and eliminate the nest to fully eradicate the infestation.

3. Are there ants that live in hot climates?

Yes, there are ants that thrive in hot climates. Some species, like the Sahara Desert ant, have adapted to withstand extreme temperatures and can be found in arid regions. These ants have specialized behaviors and physiological adaptations that allow them to forage for food and navigate the scorching desert sands. Other hot-climate ants, such as the red imported fire ant, are known for their aggressive behavior and ability to survive in high temperatures.

4. Do ants live in colonies?

Yes, ants typically live in colonies. A colony consists of a queen, male ants, and female worker ants. The queen’s primary role is to lay eggs and ensure the survival of the colony. Worker ants are responsible for tasks such as foraging for food, caring for the queen’s offspring, and defending the nest. Ant colonies can vary in size, with some species having only a few hundred individuals, while others can have millions of ants.

5. Can ants live in water?

Most ants cannot live underwater for extended periods of time. However, some species have adapted to survive in aquatic environments. For example, the water ant is capable of living in freshwater habitats like ponds or streams. These ants have unique adaptations that allow them to float on the water’s surface and even build nests in submerged vegetation. While ants are not typically considered aquatic creatures, certain species have successfully adapted to live in water environments.

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