We've all seen ants marching around searching for food and many of us have even witnessed flying ants. But have you ever heard of an ant that can jump?! You read that right, there's a type of ant called the trap-jaw ant and if you want to see something pretty spectacular in the world of "bugs", scroll down and watch the video below!
Before further discussion of this very unusual ant species, let's back up to talk a bit about ants in general. The ones you see foraging through your kitchen, or walking in a line on a sidewalk or pavement, those are your common worker ants. A few species that are most common include the pavement ants, odorous house ants, and the larger wood destroying carpenter ants. These ants that are out foraging are searching for food to bring back to their enormous colonies. Ants are social insects and can live together in masses of thousands! So the ants you see in your kitchen are a tiny matter compared to the entire colony. This is why reaching for the kitchen spray to kill the ants on the counter is not a great solution...they just keep coming back. In fact, they will leave a scent trail as they search for food which allows the other workers to follow along to the prize, or those cookie crumbs that you forgot to wipe clean.
Then there are flying ants. This makes ants seem a little more threatening to see them fly but actually, flying ants are just the reproductive ants. These guys are responsible for mating and forming new colonies. But be careful, many people confuse flying ants and swarming termites. While you certainly don't want any insect colonizing on your property, a termite infestation is on a whole different level. They are responsible for massive amounts of property damage so it's always best to call a professional if you're seeing any sort of recurrence of flying ants, or what looks like flying ants on your property or inside of your home.
Ok...back to our original topic, the high jumping trap-jaw ants. Did you watch the video yet? If not, be sure to watch later. The trap-jaw ant is not your average ant. They can open their jaw 180 degrees which gives them some what of a hammer head shark look. And if their appearance alone is not enough to cause fright, their bite is so intense and so impulsive that it propels them into the air. The ant literally goes flying up into the air, shooting up like "popcorn out of a frying pan", according a National Geographic article. This high jumping ant also packs a painful sting which means they should certainly be avoided. While they do not colonize in particularly large colonies, many entomologists still believe that they could become a threat to many more households down the line.
As always, prevention is the best way to avoid dealing with ants, whether they are nuisance ants looking for food, flying ants swarming around the property, or the rare but very interesting high jumping trap-jaw ants. Contact your local pest control provider so that you can prevent ants from taking over before they find a home near you!