Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wood Ant Colony & Humans

A colony of wood ants built their home over an underground nuclear weapons bunker from the Cold War in Templewo, Poland. Their colony is located near a vertical ventilation pipe, and every year thousands of ants fall into the pipe when the colony expands and cannot climb back out. The survivors started their own underground colony in harsh, cold, and mostly barren conditions. This new colony is solely composed of non-reproductive female workers, as the new colony doesn't produce queens, males, or offsprings. The colony is only supplemented with new workers by ants that fall into the shaft every year. Ants are known to be tidy and remove their waste, but their biggest waste in this are dead bodies. Through the years these ants moved the dead bodies to the top of the colony and the surrounding area creating an ant cemetery where mites and a few other invertebrates feed on the bodies. It is still not clear what the main source of nutrition for the ants is, they are living in a constant state of starvation.

The free ant colony above ground

The ventilation pipe the ants fall from

The new ant colony below the pipe

A close up of the ant colony with the ant cemetery against the wall

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