How does ants know where to find food? And how do they get on like 6th floor of an apartment

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How does ants know where to find food? And how do they get on like 6th floor of an apartment

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Anonymous 0 Comments

They don’t. They pull a *successful* Hansel and Gretel, and wander far and wide while leaving a trail of pheromones. Once they accidentally find something, they follow that trail back and tell their ant buddies and they all follow that trail back to the food.

It’s probably not actually completely accidental, there’s likely some amount of searching in a pattern for completeness, and/or returning to areas where food has been found before. It’s pretty cool that nature can put all the programming of an entire roomba in a container that small.

There’s two super cool videos that were on Reddit recently about this.

1. One, a guy lets the ant find a nut, then picks it up while it’s away. When the ant comes back with friends they are all very confused.
2. In the other video, ants have crossed their own pheromone trail at some point and lost the real one that continues forward or back so they’re just marching in a circle until they die of exhaustion. The nut one is a little cuter. At least they’re just starving them a little in that one.

As to how they get 6 floors up, I figure there’s two possibilities and I can’t tell you which is more likely.

1. They just accidentally wandered that far.
2. They live somewhere in the building higher than ground level. Quite possibly in the walls, they seem to be full of all other kinds of bugs.
3. EDIT TO ADD OPTION #3: they came in on your flowers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They all go in random directions leaving their scent along the way. If they find food, they grab a piece and go back the direction they came, following their own scent trail and leaving a more scent on top. They continue to follow this scent trail, from food to ant hill and back, strengthening the scent trail along the way. Other ants smell that this scent trail is stronger than the scent trials left by ants that didn’t find food (since those routes are less traveled) and follow it too, leaving their scent trail along the way further strengthening the route to food. Pretty soon you have a highway like scent trial to food being strengthened by every ant that crosses it.