Why do ants go crazy when you blow on them?

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Even if you blow softly, they start panicking and running all over the place

In: Biology

No science background, but I’ll explain like I (the explainer) was 5: imagine if you had to balance your eyes on the top of a stick that sat on top of your head and then a large gust of wind kept smashing them around to the point where you couldn’t focus on anything except hoping to keep your eye-sensor things intact.. I can’t speak for you, but if this happened to me I’d also go fucking crazy.

It’s called an Alarm response.
Basically, one or more of the ants you just blew on has broadcasted a message to all the surrounding ants: “Big thing is taking an interest in us”
This is usually a chemical they put into the air called a pheromone.

They have different pheromones for different threats and also different responses.

For most ant though, “big thing taking interest” would probably be looking to eat a lot of ants. So if the ants were close together, it could just scoop up a lot of ants.
So the ants spread apart to make that harder.

For different threats, the ants might bunch up or even attack as a group.