The Ant Nests of the Pacific Northwest
Ants build their nests everywhere, inside plants, hollow logs, dead trees or deep in the ground, even inside electronics. The nests come in all sizes. Some nests may have as few as a dozen ants living in one chamber underground and some nests can have millions of ants inhabiting them.
It’s fascinating to watch ants build nests. When l was a boy, in the Campbell River area, there was a thatching ant nest down at the spit that was at least 3 meters across and a very busy place it was. When it’s cold, the ants will move down to the deepest levels of the nest where it is warmer.
There are many types of ants here on the coast of BC and their nests are quite fascinating to observe. Ant nests come in literally all shapes and sizes. A few species live in colonies of only a few dozen ants; however, the average ant colony contains thousands of individual ants. Smaller colonies live in natural crevices or openings while larger colonies create vast nests and forage for supplies and food. There are also super colonies around the world that can contain more than 300 million individuals. These super colonies have been identified in Japan, Australia, the United States, and southern Europe. These super colonies are built by the Argentine ants. They have reached California now and with global warming, could reach Canada in the future, these ants wipe out all other ants and many other insects to boot.
Ants are found on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. A few islands such as Greenland do not have any native ant species, but individual ants have been brought in through human travel. The vast distribution of ants is rivaled only by that of humans. Very impressive for such little guys!