How Many Ants Are In The World?

Ants are fascinating creatures that can be found anywhere. Those little eusocial insects belong to the family of Formicidae and are closely related to bees and wasps. Those little creatures have excellent survival skills and can even last for weeks without eating or consuming water. 


We’ve all come across ant colonies or seen them line up for something sweet at some point. And we are sure you have wondered how many ants are in the world? Well, in this article, we will find out how many ants are in the world and also discuss their general characteristics. 

Biological Characteristics of Ants

Before discussing how many ants are in the world, let’s learn some more about those little creatures. Ants can be found in almost every type of habitat all around the world, including deserts and rainforests. They live as a group in colonies, and the size of the colony can range from a few dozen to millions of ants. 

According to the Harvard Gazette, ants have been living on earth for more than 140 million years. So, even from this data, we can see how much their survival instincts have developed. Those little creatures have a very important role in the ecosystem. 

They help plants to be fertilized by leaving the droplets of nectar that they carry. Additionally, they are important food for lizards, birds, wasps, spiders, scorpions, and many more animals.

How Many Ants Are In The World?

Well, we can all agree that it is totally not possible to exactly calculate how many ants are in the world. However, our scientists managed to get an estimated number. 

It turns out that there are approximately a million billion ants roaming the earth. To see it as a number, the total population of ants is 1,000,000,000,000,000. This number is larger than any other living species on earth except bacteria.

How Many Ant Species Are There in the World?

There are over 12,500 different species of ant on the planet today.  Those species are divided into two main types and those are social and solitary. The colonies of social ants live together and have one nest where they live, cooperate, and hide from predators. However, the solitary ants are by themselves.

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Each species has a unique morphology and social structure. Additionally, 290 genera and 21 current families of ants have been recognized by ant specialists. There may be more ant species because there are still several undescribed ones that may not be explored at all. 

The most common ant species in the world are Tapinoma sessile, Black Garden Ant, Tetramorium immigrants, Black Carpenter Ant, and Red Harvester Ants

How Many Ants Are in the World in an Ant Colony?

Most ant colonies consist of between 50,000 and 500,000 ants. Millions of ants may reside in certain colonies. Depending on the species and the area, the precise number of ants in a colony varies greatly.

Ant colonies are well-organized and eusocial. One of the keys to their long lifespan is that ant colonies contain workers, drones, queens, and warriors who all cooperate for the welfare of the colony. To make sure the colony works properly, queens, workers, drones, and troops work cooperatively. 

Where Do Ants Live?

Ants prefer terrestrial habitats. They normally build their nests outside, either in trees or underground in anthills. In urban settings, nests can also be made in the walls beneath baseboards, moldings, and worktops if they manage to get inside.

They have fundamental requirements, much like all other living things. You should consider why ants are there and what draws them to a place before assuming it is an ant colony. They’ll look for locations that have sources of water and food that provide a safe environment. 

Mostly, the ants make their nests outside, underground. However, the workers will wander around the neighborhood areas to find food. What is unique about those creatures is that the worker ants will leave a pheromone trail behind them. This lets others know where the food source is located.

Regardless of how many ants are in the world, those little creatures can be found in different settings in different parts of the world. The habitat includes deserts, jungles, suburban areas, forests, leaf litter, decaying plants, and people’s homes. So, as you can see, they have no problem living anywhere as long as they are provided with food, shelter, water, and warmth. 

Even though ants can be found almost anywhere, there is one place where they can’t survive, and this is Antarctica. The average yearly temperature there can drop to minus 60 degrees. That makes the habitat impossible to live in. Aside from that, no ants have ever been found on islands like Greenland, Iceland, any of Polynesia, or Hawaii.

A very interesting fact about ants is that they can survive underwater. Yes, ants require oxygen for survival just like other creatures. However, sometimes it happens that ants’ nests get submerged in water. Therefore, some ants can even survive underwater for two weeks. During the princess, their oxygen intake decreases, and after they are out of the water, they can recover fully.

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Ratio Of Ants To Humans

There are around 7.9 billion people on the planet, with China having the largest population at approximately 1.4 billion and Vatican City having the smallest at about 800. Since there are 1.2 billion ants for every human, the estimated total number of ants is around ten thousand trillion.

In theory, if the human population continues to grow at the rate it is today, we may surpass the ant population in 2000 years

Let’s say that the average human weighs about 100 pounds. Even though ants are only tiny insects, they have a far larger surface area to dwell on. Their weight can be only a few milligrams each. However, as a whole, it makes them heavier than humans.

It’s reasonable to conclude that these little insects and their colonies make up the majority of the biomass on our planet. We don’t know exactly how many ants are in the world, but on Earth, there are around 1.2 billion ants for every person. When you add it all up, you get a staggering number of around 10 quintillion ants, which is incredible when you consider that there are just over seven billion people on Earth. 

Since the average weight of one ant is 1 to 5 milligrams, on average, 400 000 ants would be needed to get one kilo. The total weight of ants living all around the world is estimated to be more than 2.5 million tons. In comparison, humans altogether weigh up to 483 million tonnes.

How Do Ants Get Inside Homes?

After discussing how many ants are in the world, let’s see how they can get inside our homes. Seeing one or two ants here and there can be natural, and there is no need to worry. Those little crawlers can wander in any setting and any place. However, if their number increases, then there may be an infestation.

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There are several more ways in which these creatures can get into a house. Since they are social insects, a lot of them travel, live, and work together. For example, they can enter your house in several ways, including the space between the doors; holes that are in the window screen; cracks in the foundation; and an opening that can lead them inside a house. 

Homeowners can easily handle an ant infestation because, unlike bed bugs and roaches, ants can be instantly identified. Additionally, when the insects have reproduced to their limit, ant colonies progressively disappear.

The ants, however, can harm the structural integrity of your house if the ant colony is large. Therefore, it is essential to get in touch with a local pest control firm to determine the severity of the infestation and offer a fix.

How long have ants been on earth?

Scientific sources state that ants first appeared on Earth somewhere between 140 and 168 million years ago. This was the time when dinosaurs were living on the planet, and the flora was mainly cone and spore-bearing plants similar to the pines and ferns. 

Researchers and scientists think that ants, bees, and wasps had a similar ancestor and that their foraging and nesting behaviors contributed to their evolution into the contemporary species.

Interesting Facts About Ants

  • There are more than ten quintillion ants in the world. This number is much greater than the stars in the galaxy.
  • The highest number of ants has been identified in Australia. There are more than 4,000 species living, and among those, more than 1,000 are endemic to Australia.
  • An estimated two-thirds of all living species on this planet are insects, with ants being one of their most numerous groupings.
  • Ants are very strong and can carry much more than their body weight. For example, the Asian Weaver ants can carry things that are 100 times their weight. 
  • Ants have a pretty long lifespan compared to many other insects. They can live for decades. For example, the queen can live for two or three decades.

Bottom Line – How Many Ants Are In The World

In this article, we discussed how many ants are in the world. It turns out that those little creatures are widely spread and have extremely good survival instincts. That is how they managed to live on earth for more than 140 million years.

Even though it is almost impossible to count the ant population, as of today, the approximate number of ants on earth is 10 quintillion.

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