The ants are closely related to the bees and are similar to them in many respects. They live in colonies consisting of workers, drones, and a queen. The males or drones appear at swarming time and the workers are divided into various castes—warriors, guards, nurses, etc. Those families of ants, however, which seem to have what approaches real intelligence, far outstrip the bees in many respects. In some cases ants seem to be able to plan and carry out lines of work very much the same as man does. The various stages of human intelligence or races of men from the savage to the intelligent man are in a way similar to the various races of ants. There are ants which live as hunters, others which live as shepherds and still others more highly developed which grow crops either in or near the nest as is the case with the fungus growing ants. This striking similarity between the development of ants and man offers ground for much speculation.
Ant hill showing activity and stages of development; a, egg; b, young grub; c, pupa; d, worker; e, queen with wings; f, worker carrying young grub; all enlarged. The ant hill and workers at work much reduced.
Some ants may be of considerable value to man while others are the source of great annoyance and injury. The tidy housewife usually places the ant in the same category with cockroaches and bed-bugs and the corn growers attribute much of the injury to young corn to the work of the small cornfield ant which acts as a shepherd of the corn root-louse. Ants are usually more destructive by protecting and caring for other pests than by attacking the crop direct.
Every country child is familiar with ants. They are met every day during the summer, scampering across paths, tugging at some unfortunate insect, or sticking to one's tongue when he eats berries. Ants are as numerous as the stars in the skies and vary in size. They are found from the tropics to the frozen north, in deserts, swamps and in fact, almost any place where plants or animals live. They do not waste time building or manufacturing a complicated nest like wasps and bees, so when food is scare, or for other reasons they need to move they simply "pack up" and migrate. This, together with the fact that they feed on almost every imaginable kind of plant and animal material, accounts in part for the fact that they are the rulers of the insect world.
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