For this day we learned a few different types of ants. We also had fun with homophones and counting to 100. The boys love the books that you can sing with, so I found the big book of The Ants Go Marching at the library for them.
Types of Ants
There are over 10,000 kinds of ants. We will learn about a few of them today.
- Leafcutter Ant -Leafcutter ants are also known as fungus gardening ants. The leafcutter workers snip off pieces of the plant and carry the leaf bits back to their underground nest. Then the ants chew the leaves, and use the chewed up leaf bits as a substrate on which to grow fungus. The ants eat that fungus. When a queen begins a new colony, she brings a starter culture of fungus with her to the new nest site.
- Army Ant -Army ants are nomads. They don’t make permanent nests, but instead move into empty rodent nests or holes in the ground. Army ants are typically nocturnal, with nearly blind workers. These carnivores raid other ant nests at night, stinging their prey. When the queen begins laying new eggs and the larvae start pupating, the army ants have to stay in one place for a while. As soon as the eggs hatch and the new workers emerge, the colony moves on. When on the move, workers carry the colony’s young.
- Carpenter Ant -Carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood like termites do, but they do excavate nests and tunnels in people’s homes. Carpenter ants prefer moist wood, so if you’ve had a leak or flood in your home, be on the lookout for them to move in. Carpenter ants aren’t always pests, though. They actually provide an important service in the ecological cycle as decomposers of dead wood.
- Slave Maker Ant -One method used by slavemaking ants is replacing the queen of the captive colony. The queen of an established slavemaking colony will lay eggs and produce new queens who then will leave the colony to develop their own colonies. The young slavemaking queen will wait outside of the colony she is leaving and follow a group of raiding slave makers into her new colony. As the worker slavemakers raid this new colony for eggs, the queen takes advantage of the battle by using it to sneak into the colony. Once she finds the other queen, she kills her and takes her place as the new queen. The new queen mimics the old queen by consuming pheromones from her body and releasing them to the attending ants. This new queen having mated with a slavemaking male ants earlier begins to lay new slavemakers eggs. Ant colonies invaded by slavemakers are quickly overcome and forced to support the slavemaking colony.
- Fire Ant -Fire ants defend their nests aggressively, and will swarm anything that they think is a threat. The bites and stings of fire ants are said to feel like you’re being set on fire – thus the nickname. Fire ants build mounds, usually in open, sunny places, so parks, farms, and golf courses are particularly vulnerable to fire ant infestations.
- Harvester Ant -Harvester ants inhabit deserts and prairies, where they harvest plant seeds for food. They store the seeds in underground nests. If the seeds get wet, the harvester ant workers will carry the food above ground to dry them and keep them from germinating. Like fire ants, harvester ants will defend their nest by inflicting painful bites and venomous stings.
Ant by Rebecca Stefoff
- Name a few different kinds of ants?
- What kind of ant have fungus gardens? Leafcutter Ants
- What kind of ant feels like your on fire when your bitten? Fire Ant
Different Kinds of Ants
Ant Word Search
We used did the Ant Word Search for fun today. Plus it has some interesting facts about Argentine Ants.
The Ants Go Marching
Use the Counting Practice worksheet for counting by 1’s through 10’s.
Ant Aunt Homophones
Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings (ant the insect and Aunt your relative).
- Aunt Ant meets a moose. Can you think of a homophone for moose?
- Aunt Ant sees a ewe. Can you think of a homophone for ewe?
- Aunt Ant sees a horse. Can you think of a homophone for horse?
- The bat hangs from his feet. Can you think of a homophone for feet?
- The monkey hangs from his tale. Can you think of a homophone for tail?
- Aunt Ant sees a doe. Can you think of a homophone for doe?
- Aunt Ant shares a seesaw with a toad. Can you think of a homophone for toad?
- Aunt Ant is looking at a great big whale. Can you think of a homophone for whale?
- Aunt Ant is looking at a huge bear. Can you think of a homophone for bear?
- Aunt Ant sees a bee fly away. Can you think of a homophone for bee?
- Aunt ant sees two gnus. Can you think of a homophone for gnus?
We made homophone matches using clipart online. Split the matches between me and the J and have him pick up a card and tell me what it was… I respond by saying, “but I have_____”. He also liked playing memory with the homophone matches!
Ant Unit Study