How ants climb the property ladder

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iol scitech oct 2 ant AFP One of the challenges, for ants or humans, is finding a balance between synchronised action, or conformity, on the one hand, and the flexibility needed to adapt, on the other.

London - Even the most settled of homeowners will confess to keeping an eye on the property market. And ants are no different, it seems.

Scientists have found they continuously monitor their surroundings and will quickly up sticks if they find a more suitable place to call home.

Bristol University researchers discovered that rock ants will also redouble their efforts if their current nest is in poor condition.

In fact they evaluate their housing market in such a thorough way that it “puts many of us to shame”, said researcher Carolina Doran. The study, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, examined 15 ant colonies from Dorset.

It found that, just like some humans, high ceilings and an open living space were at the top of the ants’ list when assessing a potential new home.

“The size of the nest they are looking for is directly linked to the size of the colony. The bigger the group, the bigger the desired home,” said Miss Doran.

“They also like a comfortable ceiling height so they can stack their eggs, although nothing too high which makes it feels cavernous.

“Finally, there is a preference for small entrances, which makes the nest easier to guard. They prefer the dark, so no windows either.” - Daily Mail

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