If you’ve ever experienced an ant infestation in your home, then you know one of the most important steps to removing these pests is identifying their source, which is almost always an ant hill. Almost everyone has seen an ant hill at some point in their life, and knows that the hill is that ant’s home base. However, fewer people understand just how complex ant hills are and why these structures are so important to the insects they house.

Read about the intricacies of the ant hill, and discover how these tiny insects create these impressive constructions.

How Are Ant Hills Made?

The Intricacies of Ant Hills
Image via Flickr by Enygmatic-Halcyon

When learning about ant hills, one of the most important things to understand is how these hills are built. With ant hills, like icebergs, there’s much more than meets the eye, and the small mound you see in your backyard hides a large, intricate structure just inches below the soil.

The ant hill is a byproduct of ants building their colony. As ants dig their long and winding tunnels beneath the ground, the excess dirt and debris is carried out and placed near the colony entrance, creating the ant hill. At the top of the hill, there will be a small hole that serves as the entrance and exit to the colony. The larger the ant hill, the more extensive the colony tunnels underneath.

Typically, an ant hill will be made from a combination of dirt, small rocks, pine needles, and whatever other materials were left over after the ants have dug their colony.

The Structure of an Ant Hill

The incredible thing about ant hills is that they almost resemble a human city, containing a variety of structures and near constant activity. For example, the impressive network of tunnels in an ant hill are connected to large chambers, which are used for food storage, nurseries, and a wide variety of other activities. Ants will even move around the hill depending on the time of the day, moving larvae to the warm surface during the day and further into the hill at night.

While all ant hills are complex, their design can greatly differ depending on the ant species. Western Harvester ants, for instance, often dig their hills as much as 15 feet into the ground. Other ants create their hills completely above the ground, creating clay structures that resemble human skyscrapers. A standard-surface ant hill can range in size from a single inch to 10 feet.

However, even if an ant hill seems small, there may still be thousands of ants just below the surface waiting to infest your home.

Ant hills are some of the most amazing structures in nature, featuring long and winding tunnels that ants use as their home. If you find an ant hill in your yard, then your home has a much greater risk for an infestation, which means you need to consult with ant infestation professionals.

An ant expert can give you advice about removing an ant hill from your property and help you prevent aggravating future infestations.