How are Ants Similar to Humans?

A brother from another mother. Siss from another miss. A bro fo no mo (full disclosure: this one we don’t really get).

No matter how you refer to someone close-but-unrelated to you, these clichés have never been used to describe the relationship between ants and humans.

And why would they be? After all, these phrases are reserved for two companions who are so similar in nature, mannerisms, attitude, and appearance, they may as well be related.

But, maybe we should start referring to these household pests as besties from other testes, because they’re more alike us than we realize. Besides appearance that is…for most of us, anyway.

Here are a few ways ants are strikingly similar to humankind.

Agendas for World Domination

Read up on the history on any human civilization from the past, and it’ll have some reference to world domination, or conquering nearby populations. The Crusades, Genghis Khan, America’s Manifest Destiny – human nations have been built or destroyed through flexing domestic strength. It still exists today…just take a look down to our Southern neighbours.

Ants operate in a similar, imperious fashion. Whenever these insects arrive on a new landmass, they go full Magellan, immediately colonizing everything in their path. Besides areas like Antarctica, they can adapt to any habitat – or rather, they adapt any habitat to suit them.

Ants will also try to overthrow neighbouring ant colonies when the opportunity arises, which is no different from human populations declaring war on one another.

We’re Survivors

*cue Destiny’s Child song*

Ants’ aforementioned ability to adapt and modify the environment to suit their needs is exactly how humans operate.

Too cold? We have central heating for that. Not enough food? We can stock up at nearby grocery stores for goods. Need to get somewhere fast? We have transit and infrastructure throughout our metropolitans.

This shared trait is what makes getting rid of ants so tricky for pest control companies like us to eradicate colonies for good: they simply have so many ways to persist through varied climates and habitats!

Fresh to Death

A select few unlucky ants in each of their respective ecosystems are responsible for cleaning up after the entire colony.

Some ants, like pavement ants, are voracious cleaners (and by that, we mean food-waste scavengers). According to a study published in Global Change Biology in December, pavement ants & other arthropods can eat up to 6.5 kilograms (14 pounds) of waste per street block every year.

That equates to 60,000 hotdogs, 200,000 cookies, or 600,000 potato chips across Broadway and West Street in New York. So it goes without saying that if you have a pavement ant infestation on your property, make sure there are no enticing crumbs littering your kitchen floor!

This is similar to humans for obvious reasons: we clean up after ourselves (most of us anyway), and are aggressive eaters in our own right.

Society

Ant colonies are considered the closest model in nature to our own human societies.

Three key distinguishers make them comparable to us:

  1. They divide labour amongst them, with different ants serving different purposes in their unique populations.
  2. They communicate with one another to get things done.
  3. They possess the ability to solve complex problems presented to the colony.

Points #1 & 2 are of particular interest; studies have revealed ants can ‘determine how many foragers to send out of the nest, in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data’.

We guess you could call that the ‘anternet’.

Natural GPS

Ants utilize visual landmarks when they’re lost, giving them a natural GPS that would make human technology envious. This is the same as humans using landmarks to remember which direction we came from, or using the position of the stars to understand our coordinates.

Some ant species make special trails for foraging, too, or long, miniature highways packed with ant traffic bringing food back and forth to the colony. These are just like human highways, except ours are much, much larger, and aren’t littered with human pheromones – or a special chemical trail – that highlights a path for fellow people to find their way back to the city.


While ant infestations have a striking similarities to human populations, there is one sharp difference: we can actually get rid of pesky ant colonies that’ve breached your property.

For more information about our ant removal, or other pest control services in Toronto, contact Terminix Canada today!