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Research Estimates That The Global Ant Population Has Grown To 20 Quadrillion

The number of 20 quadrillion ants now living on earth may not mean that much to you, unless you do a little math.
We know that the earth’s human population will soon surpass 8 billion. Use that figure of 20 quadrillion, divide it by 8 billion people, and you’ll come up with a staggering number of 2.5 million ants for every person living on earth!
Historians will tell you that the first ants appeared on earth during the Jurassic period – a time when dinosaurs roamed the land. During those times, they say that ants were scarce when compared to other insects. That is because most plant life consisted mostly of cone- and spore-bearing plants, like pines and ferns. That changed, about 100 million years ago, when flowering plants began to blossom and produce flowers and fruits. These flowering plants produced a lot of new food sources, and the ants began to thrive.
“Ants certainly play a very central role in almost every terrestrial ecosystem,” said Patrick Schultheiss of the University of Wurzburg, Germany and the University of Hong Kong. “They are very important for nutrient cycling, decomposition processes, plant seeding dispersal and the perpetuation of soil. Ants are also an extremely diverse group of insects, with different species fulfilling a wide range of functions. But most of all, is their high abundance that makes them key ecological players.”
Scientists have identified more than 12,500 species of ants, and some believe that more than 10,000 species are yet to be discovered. They live almost everywhere on earth, except Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, and some island nations.
The study was based on the analysis of 489 studies of ant populations, and spanned every continent where ants live.
“Some ants can certainly be very annoying, that that’s a human-centered perspective,” said Schultheiss. “Most ants are actually highly beneficial, even to us humans. Think about the amount of organic matter that 20 quadrillion ants transport, remove, recycle and eat. In fact, ants are so essential for the smooth working of biological processes that they can be seen as ecosystem engineers. The late ant scientist E.O. Wilson once called them “the little things that run the world.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we couldn’t help but laugh when we read this article; we had several homes this past week where the owners said they had a million ants roaming around inside. If you have a “million” ants inside your home, call us at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to assist.