Really impressive little creatures. I thought that they had been contracted out by my the maintenance people in my building because those ants are quite good at gathering on-mass to collect crumbs that I drop. Then- once all the crumbs are gone they promptly leave the area. Really you won't find a single ant on the floor if there are no crumbs left.
But then I caught them going through my trash:
Apparently they find empty yogurt containers irresistible. The next day I kept a watchful eye for the ant-highway after I threw out my yogurt container... two hours later, still no ant-highway.
Then I started hearing a lot of rummaging going on inside the trash can - and - the ant highway was on the hidden side of the trashcan! And yes, these ants are heavy enough to quietly rustle thin plastic garbage bags.
This of course is an excellent opportunity for me to test a few things, like, can ants swim? When I'm next back in the office I will place the trash can in a baking tray filled with water to supply a nice moat.
If I have time, I will also build a little white paper bridge across the moat so that I will be able to see clearly when they have a highway. I plan to test a few things like:
How do they know when I've thrown something tasty out?
- They know what time I throw out my yogurt
- They hear me throw it out
- They just smell it from inside the crack in the wall
- They constantly have scouts that roam around randomly everywhere all the time and report back when they find something
The last one is the most likely in my opinion. I hope to catch how many scouts they send over the bridge on camera to get some idea for this.