Social insects include ants, bees, wasps and termites. However, a minority of bee and wasp species live solitary lifestyles. Social insects are often considered the most sophisticated, and perhaps, the most intelligent types of insects that exist. This is widely understood to be the case due to the socially cooperative and goal-oriented behavior demonstrated by social insects. For example, higher termite species are capable of working in large groups in order to build architecturally complicated structures that, in some cases, reach thirty feet in height. Ants, despite their small size, are one of the most successful animal groups on the planet, as they have evolved sophisticated foraging and battle strategies. In fact, some ant species have evolved the ability to nurse their battle-wounded comrades back to health by practicing peculiar, yet effective, first aid methods. Since ants have evolved to live communally within their own underground structures, it is no wonder why they are so good at accessing and maintaining a stubborn presence within homes.
Numerous ant species have adapted to surviving harsh desert conditions by creating intricate dwelling galleries far below the ground’s surface where temperatures are relatively cool. But, many desert-dwelling ant species also invade homes in Arizona due to the abundance of human food sources indoors and the relative safety from predators that houses offer. Ants also invade homes in order to secure warm shelter during the winter. For example, crazy ants are often spotted in Arizona homes due to their need to escape the winter cold. Homes also provide these ants with many food sources, as they are not picky eaters, but they are known to to inflict painful bites when they are disturbed. The dreaded southern fire ant has been known to invade Arizona homes, but they are more commonly spotted in residential yards where they construct underground galleries. Fire ant colonies can contain up to 100,000 ants and they inflict extremely painful and medically significant stings that can send victims to the hospital. Because of their common presence within residential yards, children and pets are particularly vulnerable to fire ant stings. Carpenter ants are also common within Arizona homes, and this is one of the few ant species that bores into wood for nesting purposes. Unfortunately, this wood also includes structural wood.
Have you ever sustained a fire ant sting?