Africa Nigeria

Soldier Ants

No one wants an army of ants patrolling around his front door or garden. But talk of an endless stream of army ants? That doesn’t sound so good.

I saw a file of soldier ants (ólú-mba in Igbo language) yesterday night. I never imagined they would mobilize to a greater force. The following morning I witnessed the army ‘arrest’ a big mamba and some insects. In one raid they can strip a garden of living things. In West African soldier ants dwell in the forests and rarely come in contact with human beings.

I’m impressed with the teamwork portrayed by army ants. It’s hard to break through a fortified line so when they descend on a prey it’s harder to escape. They march through cold nights and sun heat, building shelters to reduce any weather impact. When they go for a night raid they take sleeping rodents and insects by surprise. I’ve seen them construct bridges with tree leaves, sticks, sand and stones. Soldier ants are very intelligent and their leadership structure sound and competent. In fact, every ant has got a role to play and each has mastered its role! I’m particularly weary of ants with the biggest heads.

When they march it’s swift like a fast flowing stream, drowning unsuspecting grasshoppers, bugs, worms, spiders, lizards, snakes, livestock and every life. The unfortunate victims are killed, stripped of flesh and then transported in pieces. Soldier ants are highly organized flesh eaters. They can take on any living thing and there are reports of attacks on vulnerable humans. It’s advised to avoid them.

To keep these ants away: apply insect repellent dusts or petroluem products like crude oil or gas. Ash also can help keep them away.

Indeed, no insect has such organizational ability like the soldier ant.