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Old 05-06-2008, 07:38 AM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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What happens to relocated ants?

I know this question has been asked before in this forum, but never satisfactorily answered. I'm hoping that an ant expert has joined the SDMB in the meantime.

Here's the situation: last night, I discovered an infestation of ants -- those tiny ants -- under my sink. A certain number had gotten into the trashbag, so I tied up the trashbag and took it outside and put it into my garbage can. My question is, what happens next for those ants? Is it a Pitcairn Island scenario, or more like the lost colony of Roanoke?
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:22 AM
Mycroft H. Mycroft H. is offline
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Itís more like Roanoke. The foragers you sent away can survive for a while, but they will not have a purpose which is normally to tend to the colony/queen. Without the queen to lay more eggs, the forager ants cannot continue a new colony.

Ants generally donít like other ants from a different colony. They donít smell right. (They differentiate by scent/taste.) Stranger ants often get killed as intruders although I do recall reading that some can get adopted into a new colony. More likely the displaced ants will either get killed by the ants in their new area, will get consumed by the many things that eat them, or will die of old age while trying to find their way back.

I'm not an ant expert, but this is the gist of what I recall from a Nova television program (or the equivalent) I saw on ants a while ago. Sorry, no cites.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:35 AM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Ants, like bees, work to serve the nest. Normally individual workers do their work until their bodies physically wear out, then they die. If they're separated from their brothers and sisters, they mope around reading Who Moved My Jesus? and feel guilty about not adapting to change. They form pitiful support groups. They try to write to their congressants. It doesn't help. Nobody cares. They are carried to the landfill, where they die.

Only a small part of that is true. They'll die in your trash bag, in the landfill.
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