Ants are known for their unrelenting industriousness and incredible strict social system that seems flawless. It must be because their numbers never seem to dwindle, if anything it is hard to find a spot on earth that doesn’t seem to be crawling with this indomitable insect.
Their strict hierarchy system often ensures that everyone knows their role and the colony grows from strength to strength.
Ant populations on earth
According to the British entomologist known as C.B Williams, his calculations on the number of insects on earth at any given time led him to an estimate of one million trillion insects. If that estimate were true, then his bold claim is that all insects in the world would weigh as much as the entire human population
That sounds outrageous until you read or hear Edward O Wilson a Harvard professor and the German biologist Bert Hoelldobler claims on the subject in their book titled ‘Journey To The Ants’ published in 1994. Their argument seems to pick from and advance the British entomologist C.B Williams theory. The two professors suggest that a single worker ant weighs about 1-5 mg. If Williams estimated world insect population are ants, such a calculation would put earth’s population of ants at ten thousand trillion. That being the case, then indeed all the ants in the world put together would weigh the equivalent or perhaps even more than the total weight of all human kind on earth considering that an average human weighs about 62 kilograms.
Ant queen and the colony
But what does do all the above figures have to do with a queen bee? Well, it goes to show that the importance of the queen bee in multiplication of colonies. Her role in increasing and preservation of ant populations is indispensable. The Ant queen is the cog that keeps the population wheel of the ants spinning, take the ant queens away and the population of ants would be decimated. The various ranks of the ants know this and therefore instinctively perform their roles with military precision and discipline. The female worker ants dutifully forage for food and feed the colony as well as the queen in addition to making sure that the colony is clean. The other members of the colony are soldiers who ensure that everyone else in the colony is protected from harm. Then there are the drones who are essentially royalty because they are the princess and princesses of the colony.
Once the princesses become of age, they will mate with the drone and then move out to start new colonies of their own as queens. The primary role of an ant queen is laying eggs, and ant queens can live well beyond a decade and can lay up to a million eggs in a lifetime. When her colony population is healthy and robust, she will then switch gears to birthing more drones (princes and princesses) in order to extend the royal lineage and ensure continuity. The drones will then grow mate and leave the nest to start colonies of their own and so the cycle goes on and on.
The ant bee is noticeably bigger than the rest if the ants. That is not because she is pampered, but because the musculature is necessary to become an efficient egg laying machine to fill the earth with little ravenous ants.