Should We Be Worried About Ants?
If you want to get scared silly, search the Internet for videos of army ants on the march. The voracious little bugs march relentlessly and eat everything in their path. Pity the beetle, snake, mouse, or even pig or goat that gets in their way. Furthermore, there are over 200 species of army ants and they travel in hordes. Colonies numbering between 150,000 and 20 million swarm across every available surface, dissolving their prey with an acid which liquefies the victim’s flesh, muscles, and tendons.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that army ants mostly live in the lowland tropical forests of Africa, Central America, and South America. They are most dangerous to humans during droughts when they leave their home territories and strike out in search of food and water.
The ants prefer wet, lush jungle to survive and unless you live in one, you don’t need to worry. Of course some southern states (I’m looking at you Florida) have climates that are conducive to battalions of army ants. And the marching insects have been spotted in Texas, Arizona, and Southern California. Since the ants are constantly on the move, even if they invade a specific area, they don’t remain there for long. They are also easy to avoid, an ant column “marches” along at about 60 feet an hour.
Some people consider army ants beneficial insects. In East Africa the ants swarm into homes and eat everything that moves. While the ants don’t eat regular “people” food they do dine on mice, scorpions, cockroaches, and other vermin. When the Maasai people see the ants a-comin’ they simply grab the dogs and cats, and move out of the house for a day or two. After the ants move on, people return to their homes which are now free of varmints and remain so for a very long time.