Have you ever imagined that these tiny creatures have natural enemies? These natural enemies help to keep the ants’ population under control by living alongside these creatures. Humans need to know about the enemies of these invasive ants. Let us discuss some of the natural predators of these ant species.
Alcon Blue butterfly:
The Alcon Blue Butterfly tricks the ant into raising its young one, imitating the scent of the Myrmica ant. The caterpillar develops the outer covering resembling the Myrmica ant. The ants will bring the caterpillar into their colony, thinking of it as its young one.
These ants feed the caterpillar as their young ones. The caterpillar then dines on the ant eggs and larvae. The population of Myrmica ants has depleted because of these tricks of the Alcon Blue butterflies. It is now exploiting other species of ants.
Red imported fire ants do not have any natural predators because it does not offer a hospitable environment to kill these ants. The fire ant population has exploded in recent years.
Scientists have introduced to anti-decapitator fly known as Phorid fly to capture the fly attacks the ants. These flies will lay eggs on the heads of the alive ants. The larvae will kill the host and consume the body for food after they hatch.
The female wasps will lay their eggs near the ant colony. The larva will attach to the foraging ant and gets inside the ant colony. Once the larva hatches, they will enter the brood chamber and begin dining out the ants’ larvae.
The moth butterfly feeds on the ants’ larvae but has a different style of getting its meal. The female moth butterfly will lay their eggs inside the nest of the tree ants.
The larvae will look like an oval slug with a hard outer shell. The outer shell is so heavy that the soldier ants cannot bite or flip it. The larvae then start feeding the baby ants until it becomes a butterfly.
Just like humans deal with pathogens, ants too have to deal with the viruses that kill them. Pathogens may infect both adult and baby ants. Once these ants are diseased, they cannot live long, and the queen ants can stop laying eggs due to weakness.
The beetles feed exclusively on ants. These beetles do not trick the ants by invading their nests before preying on them. Instead, they storm and grabs the ants through their large jaws. If the ants try to attack it, they can defend themselves with their long legs.
Humans are at war with the ants and try to exterminate them from our homes. We kill ants not only because they are invading our property, but also some countries like to eat ants in their food as a delicacy.
Ants also have imposters living in their nests, waiting for the eggs and queen to die. It is not easy to be an ant as they also have natural predators to destroy the ant population.