Ant and Ant Hills
Why ants are important
An ant is tiny and a very annoying creature to many (both animals and man) and yet is capable of doing great things. We owe our existence to these little creatures. Ants play a very important role in our environment. Here are some ways the ants are very useful.
- Ants break down large plant matter into tiny bits and pieces that can then be easily broken down naturally or decompose and release nutrients back into the soil.
- Ants are hard workers and as they move around, they create channels or compartments which allows air to flow through the soil. The soil is aerated, thereby creating a favorable environment for creatures under the ground to survive and plants to grow well.
- Ants have been used for healing and medicinal purpose.
- Ants occur in nature in large quantities and therefore are an ideal food source for the animals high up in the food chain.
- Ants, how they work and how they live is an inspiration to humans especially in work or business models. Buildings are designed based on how ants build their home and how the temperature is regulated in cold and hot conditions.
- Most importantly ants make readily available construction material. In some parts of the world example in Africa because of the extremes in temperature, the ants have adapted very well by creating homes underground with very stable temperature that is very stable throughout their lifetime. In building their homes, they also provide material for human beings to build their homes. As they go about digging underground, they bring to the surface of the ground excess soil. The soil piles get bigger and bigger and can eventually get as big as a hill. The hill is known as ant hill. The ant hill composed of material that is very useful for making bricks. The pile composed manly of clay. Clay is a mineral (secondary) which is excavated and used for bricks, pottery etc. The ants have done humans a favor by piling a mixture of clay and sand granules of almost fine and uniform sizes on the surface. This material is mixed with water to make bricks or mud blocks. So much time is saved in brick making as the soil is already sieved and made available on the surface. For persons not very experienced in identifying clay soils an ant hill saved them all the time and trouble. Ant hills not only are source of material for building but they are also utilized in other ways as shown below.
Ant Hills - Physical Appearance and Uses.
Ant hills are found in different colours. The colour vary and depend on the colour of the soil of the area. The hills are well compacted and are solid and therefore are not easily weathered by rain and strong winds. The structure is firm and can not collapse easily.
Ant hills are usually not removed or destroyed by humans because;
- of fear of ant invasion of homes and properties.
- of their importance as source of material for building and pottery in the future.
- Ant hills are also homes to ants and therefore are respected, left alone and not disturbed.
- they are ideal as part of the garden in a property or part of a landscape eg. in a golf course.
- they are ideal pla ground for kids.
- of their firm nature are ideal as platforms or base for building an outdoor shelter, provide sitting for spectators during games, a golf tee box, to place a header tank for supplying water. See pictures attached.
- Lookout or a high point to place signs.