Ant Questions Answered!

Over the last couple years, we’ve worked with outstanding K-12 educators on a number of projects, including Belly Button Biodiversity and School of Ants. We enjoy collaborating with teachers on curriculum modules, and then actually visiting students in classrooms when we can. Last week, Lauren Nichols, De Anna Beasley, and Mack Pridgen of Tar Heel Ants joined me on a visit to to the bustling second-grade classroom at the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina.

Prior to our visit, these curious students submitted some hard-hitting, dare I say philosophical, questions about ants and their biology: “How did ants exist before we did?” and “What is a colony?” We had a blast answering the students’ questions and sharing live ant colonies with them. So much so that we made a little video so you could check out the second-grader-inspired ant Q & A for yourself — Enjoy!

By |2016-11-22T13:47:19-05:00September 10th, 2013|

About the Author:

Lea Shell
Lea Shell is an entomologist and educator who devotes her time convincing others just how wonderfully important insects and microbes are to our lives. She enjoys playing with slime mold, ants, GPS units, climate loggers and interviewing scientists about their middle school experiences.


  1. MYRMECOS September 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    […] Your ant questions, answered. To the sonorous pickings of a banjo. […]

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    Nancy Gaitan February 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    We are having massive rains and I keep finding ant trails with what looks like Queen ants with them and I think they are trying to move their colony but the Queen ants cannot seem to walk upward and keep falling down the other ants even try to help her but they’re stuck is there any way to help them?

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    Clint February 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Many colonies produce new dispersing queens with wings, and these will walk with the colonies as they emigrate. These queens will eventually disperse and fly away on their own to found new colonies. Like acorns from an oak tree, most of these queens will die, but a few will survive to produce new colonies. So, most of the queens you see struggling today will probably be ok. They only need a few to survive, but they (and we) appreciate your concern!

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    Matthew September 27, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Hi, I have a store-bought ant farm with light sand around a center compartment. So far I have put 20+ ants in there with food and moisture, but after a few days, they disappeared. I was wondering if the ants had burrowed into the sand. Also, I see that there are small motionless “worms” in with the the food and surrounding soil. Some of them are moving quite quickly through the soil, and I was wondering if they were actual worms instead of larvae. I know this is a particular inquiry. I can’t figure what species it is but I was wondering if there was anything you could liken it to.

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