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There Are More Lazy Ants In A Colony Than You Think

There Are More Lazy Ants In A Colony Than You Think

We all know that ants, despite their tiny sizes, are industrious workers. All you have to do in order to see their efficiency for yourself is to venture outdoors for a moment and simply look down at your feet. You will certainly see ants crawling all over the place. What could these ants possibly be doing? Working on a tunnel system under the ground’s surface perhaps? Who knows? But these fast moving ants must be doing something, right? Well, according to researchers, about forty percent of these ants are just sitting around doing nothing at all.

According to Ph.D. Daniel Charbonneau, ants are not nearly as industrious as you might think, at least not when considering the whole colony. Charbonneau has dedicated his studies to ant behavior, especially what function all of these lazy ants serve in an ant colony. Sometimes lazy ants will get up to do something, such as chores around a nest, or grooming other, busier members of the ant colony. Dr. Charbonneau even has his own lab full of ant farms, so that he can get up close and personal with any one single ant that he is able to find. The Dr. says that these ants are not “freaks of nature,” and many social insects are similarly lazy, even honey bees. This is not the first time the existence of lazy ants has become known to science. However, the Dr. did find that these lazy ants may not spend their whole lives sitting around lazily. Many of them are simply waiting for their day in the sun.

Dr. Charbonneau eventually removed twenty percent of the active ants within a particular colony, and within a week something surprising happened. The once lazy ants became active. After a week the formerly lazy ants had become just as active as the original ants that had been removed. These ants were described as being a sort of reserve force during times when ant populations are low. Every once in a while, an ant population will need to step up their efforts for the good of the colony. That is when the lazy ants come in to save the day.


How do you think a lazy ant spends its time? Do you think that they can have thoughts?