A rare insect exhibit is slated to open soon in China’s Sichaun province in Beijing. Included in the exhibit is an ant fossil believed to be 165 million years old!
The exhibition, organized by the Insect Museum of West China, is a month long show that will include other rare insect fossils as well. Aside from the ancient ant exhibit the exhibition will include dragonflies, beetles and bees; many of which date back to the Jurassic period.
Museum curator Zhoa Li stated that “The reason for scarcity of insect fossil is that their exoskeleton do not preserve very well,”. This might explain why some of the fossilized insects look completely different to their modern descendants while some still look the same.
The 165 year old ant fossil is among the most impressive of all the insects on exhibit. The museum is so proud of the ant because it is believed to be around 45 million years older than a comparable ant fossil found by American archaeologists in the Amazon. Those are some old ants!
In all The Insect Museum of West China is home to over 4,000,000 insect samples collected from over 40 countries! That sure is a lot of insects to share a roof with! If you have insects under your roof but are not as gracious a host as the museum call a Cincinnati pest control extermination expert to make them history!
Some of the most common type of ants found in Kentucky is the Carpenter ant. The Carpenter ant can grow to be up to 3/4 inch long. Often times these ants will make up their nests in dead wood which can be made up of trees that have fallen, buried stumps or even parts of abandoned Kentucky buildings. Carpenter ants forage for a variety of foods which include, insects, nectar, pollen, seeds, and fruit. Despite making a home in wood the Carpenter ant rarely cause serious damage to structures like their relative pest the termite.
Ants are most often considered to be nuisance pest and for good reason, such as invading homes with large colonies, however ants can also be beneficial to humans in our gardens and crops. Nevertheless invading ants are one of the biggest urban pest issues in the United States and for residents of Northern Kentucky we are more than familiar with the invading Carpenter ant.
Another issue people commonly have with ants is the fact that some ant species will sting and some individuals are allergic to certain ants. However despite the many problems man does have with ants they are very interesting creatures and many scientists dedicate their professional lives to understanding them.
It is also important to note that ants travel in colonies so if you do find your self with an ant problem at your home it could be not just one but thousands! If you suspect any nuisance ants at you home we recommend contacting you local Kentucky ant control expert.
For humans self medicating is a common practice we carry out when we are sick to make us feel better. However in the wild science has found little evidence of self medicating until recently.
According to research carried out by scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland, the black ant (scientific name Formica Fusca) seeks different food after it has been exposed to fungal pathogens. Specifically the ants ingest hydrogen peroxide that they forage for in surrounding damaged plants as well as in other insects and cadavers.
In an official statement from the research team, professor of biological and environmental sciences, Dalial Fretak, said the following; “When ants are feeding on the diet containing extra free radicals, they are able to survive infections significantly better. Moreover, the ants also choose the diet including extra free radicals after they are exposed to fungus, but not if they are not,”. Furthermore the study found that any healthy ant showing no infectious symptoms experience the same side effect of taking a drug when feeding on hydrogen peroxide. However once infected the free-radical-feeding ants showed about a 20% higher survival rate against lethal fungal disease.
Another researcher Nick Bos had the following to add; “It is an amazing discovery that ants have an idea of their health status and seem to adjust the dosage of medicine to that,”. Certainly the discovery is amazing as the study was also just recently recognized and published in the international journal, Evolution.
Sounds like the ants are getting smarter, good thing us humans are pretty sharp ourselves. If you want to do the smart thing and control the ants and pests at your home contact your local pest control expert.
The Complex World of Ants
If you’ve ever tried to remove an ant colony, you know how tough and persistent these creatures are. They are a nuisance and can be destructive, but they also have amazing abilities, build complicated structures, and share more than a few traits with humans.
Most people know ants are incredibly strong. They can lift objects 25 times their own body weight. The common American field ant has a neck joint that can withstand 5,000 pounds its body weight.
Like humans, ants are highly social, yet also possess a competitive and sometimes warlike nature. Some species build colonies, and others travel like nomads to find the best food sources. Their societies have many rules, and use division of labor to find and store food as well as building and sustaining colonies.
They have intricate means of communication, using odors to give and receive vital information. They mainly exchange news about impending danger and food. If an ant is killed violently (by crushing) it sends out signal to all other nearby ants, who will go into a state of frenzy in response to the alarm.
Ants have been observed closely by humans, and we’ve determined that they may be the only other species (besides us) who can learn simply by watching another ant. This is known as vicarious learning, and hasn’t been recorded anywhere else in the animal kingdom.
Argentine Ants: Colonies of Argentine ants are found throughout the southeastern parts of the U.S. and California usually in wet environments near a food source. Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter Ants: This aggressive species of ant is found nationwide, especially in the northern region. Carpenter ants attack wood and can cause severe property damage, which is usually not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Crazy Ants: First found in Texas in 2002, crazy ants have spread to other southern states, nesting in both dry and moist habitats. This species does not pose a health threat, but they can become a nuisance.
Odorous House Ants: This species is found in every region of the U.S. and commonly nests in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. Odorous house ants do not pose a health risk, but they give off a strong, rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
Pavement Ants: These black ants are found throughout the eastern portion of the U.S., and in California and Washington. They get their name from making nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ants can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Red Imported Fire Ants: These red ants are found in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas, as well as California and New Mexico. They are commonly introduced to new areas through potted plants, shrubbery and trees. Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest, often causing painful welts.