We always see ants running around outside, and sometimes we have no idea where they have come from. Have you ever seen an ant running around and wondered, “How far is that ant from its home?” We’ve read the papers and done the research, and we finally figured out how far ants actually travel.
Ants travel about 550cm (18 feet) from the nest, but research has shown some specific ants have more potent pheromones than others, and we’ve seen the Black Garden Ant travel as far as 1100cm (36 feet) from the nest in search of food.
We spent a ton of time reading through the research to give our readers a great answer on this, as it was such a common request.
Below is more information on ants’ travel patterns, how ants travel, and how fast they travel.
How far can Ants travel from the ant nest?
According to research conducted by PubMed, we can see that ants can travel on average 550cm (18 feet) from the ant nest. (Read more here)
There are some instances where the ant will travel nearly double this length. For example, the Black Garden Ant has been seen traveling distances upwards of 1100 cm (36feet) from the nest site to find food; while this is quite a distance, ants need to eat, and the workers have a responsibility to search for food. (Read more here)
How Far Do Ants Travel For Food?
Most of the traveling done by ant colonies is by worker ants looking for food. We’ve seen some ants species travel upwards of 1100 cm (36feet) from the nest site to find food.
The most important thing for ants is their chemical trail, and once this is lost, no other friendly ants will be able to walk this same path since the smell is gone.
How long can an ant travel?
Ants think differently than humans.
For humans, our primary guide is eyesight and our ability to walk a short distance.
Ants travel entirely based on pheromones. (Read more)
Ants will continue to travel as long as the ant can sense a pheromone trail, so as long as a family ant member has released their pheromone while traveling on the path, the ants will continue to travel.
Do Ants Travel Alone or With Other Ants?
Ants are social insects and work together to find food or a safe place for their queens to lay eggs.
Ants need each other since they are mostly blind and depend on the smell from their colony.
As soldier ants start to search for food, they will let off a pheromone that tells all the ants behind them that they’ve created a search.
This pheromone changes in smell and strength as the ants either sense danger or find food.
This allows the ants to follow or avoid the pheromone smell till the food is located.
Once the ant’s meal is located, it’s common practice that the ants will change pheromone smells to signal that they’ve found something.
This will indicate to the ants behind them that their search is over and their meal has been located.
Which Ant Species Can Find its Way Home?
All ants can find their way home to their nest by searching for food.
The ant can find its way home by the pheromones left behind by the ants following behind towards the food.
If ants could not find their home after leaving, the colony would not be able to sustain growth, as, without food, all of the other ants would die.
How Far Away From The Colony Can an Ant Find its Way Home?
Ants do not care how far away they are from their colony; as long as they can sense a pheromone trail from their specific colony, they can find their way home.
This is why sometimes you’ll see a randomly lost ant, because this ant has lost the pheromone trail and is unable to find it, leading it to run around randomly praying to pick up its colonies’ scent.
Do Ants stay with the same ant colony throughout their entire lives?
This is a tricky question, some ant colonies only have one queen, but other colonies will have several queens.
Once several males have been produced, we have seen fertile queens run off and create their colonies.
This does not often happen, as colonies usually only have one queen ant, and the introduction of other queens would mean war.
We know this is weird to think about a colony having more than one queen, but it does happen. (Source)
For the red imported fire ants or carpenter ants, the colony is sure to follow once the queen dies.
Other Articles On Common Ant Questions
When it comes to ants, there are a ton of different questions.
We have some posts that answer some of the common and most well-known ant questions.
Those articles are in this list here:
- The History Of Ants
- The Types of Ants in Florida
- Why Do Male Ants Die Shortly After Mating
- How Long Can Ants Survive Without Food?
Will ants eventually go away if there is no food?
Ants will eventually leave if there is no food; however, they will become very aggressive in their search in the house, and many workers ants will be seen traveling great distances.
Starving the ants will send them into survival mode, as the ants think they will not survive.
We suggest either finding the nests, baiting the ants with food, or calling your local pest control to help eradicate the ants.
The last thing you want is the queen ants laying eggs and creating a new home in your home. (Source)
How fast do ants travel?
Ants travel at many different speeds. Most ants wander looking for either a new food source or a place to put a new colony. Ant colonies are diverse, and their worker ants always move at different paces.
What is The Fastest Ant in The World?
The Cataglyphis Bombycina, also known as the Saharan Silver ant, is by far the fastest ant in the world, and this ant is much faster than other ants.
These individual ants have been seen going short distances at extremely fast paces, one example, we’ve seen speeds of about 2.24 mph from the Saharan Silver ant.
This is the walking speed of most people, and if this ant were running next to you on the ground, both of you would be moving at the same speed.
This is faster than any bees, wasps, or other aphids.
However, this is slower than two species of beetles. (Full read here).
How Fast Can an Ant Go a Mile?
Since we now know that the Sarahan Silver ant is the fastest ant in the world, we will use their max speed to figure out how fast an ant can go a mile.
We know the Saharan Silver Ant can move at upwards of 2.24 mph.
The Saharan Silver Ant can go a mile in about 26.7 minutes or 1607 seconds.
How Far can An Ant Travel in 7 Minutes in Inches?
Again, Since we now know that the Sarahan Silver ant is the fastest ant in the world, we will still use their max speed to figure out how fast an ant can go a mile. We know the Saharan Silver Ant can move at upwards of 2.24 mph.
This means that the Saharan Silver Ant can travel about .262 miles in seven minutes. This means the Saharan Silver Ant (The fastest ant in the world) can travel 16600 inches in 7 minutes.