A brief history of ants

By: Isabelle Baidoo

Although ants are seemingly small and insignificant creatures; their history is quite interesting and lengthy.

The ant (Formicidae) evolved from vespoid wasp ancestors in the Cretaceous Period roughly 145.5 million years ago. Today there are more than 13,800 species of ants that have been discovered, but scientists estimate that there are 22,000 species in total.

Ants are a Superorganism meaning they are a group of living organisms that work together as one to grow and develop. All ants play an important role in the colony. There are the ants that look after the baby ants, others that collect and prepare food, then there are the ants that dig and clean the nest. Some ants are born for their job, but others will change roles as they grow.

They live in colonies all over the world in almost every continent. Ants have snuck their way into Antarctica where they can only survive around humans. They live in trees, soil, rocks, logs, and small acorns or pinecones.

Defending their colony and their nest is a common struggle for ants. All ants can bite, and some have bodies specifically made for fighting. There’s also ants with stingers similar to bees, ants that squirt acid out of their abdomen, or ants that emit a potent smell. Although this seems rather violent, there are certain ants who don’t feel the need to fight and just hide or remain very still.

These colonies are mostly made up of female ants. Worker ants are all related and their mother is the queen ant of the colony. Once a year when a new colony is ready to be made, male ants and new queens are born. Both males and queens are born with wings. The males use these wings to fly and mate with the new queens, but their lives are very short because their only job is to mate. There is at least one queen per colony and many worker ants. Ants can be smarter than humans when they work together as a colony.

Ants’ lives begin with the mother laying a round squishy egg; which will eventually hatch into an ant larva. The ant larva eats and grows, then develops all the necessary adult body parts within its body; this is the pupa stage. They then shed their old skin and become an adult ant.

Ants come in a very wide variety of colors. Not all ants are just red, black, or brown. There are species of ants all over the world that range from green, gold, yellow, and even blue. In Australia there are shiny blue ants called Blue Ants. They can be bright metallic blue or green and are often found in flowers.

Some ants are farmer ants such as the leafcutter. There is a specific group of ants called “fungus-growing ants” that are fully self-sufficient; they create gardens of fungi to eat, and feed their fungi leaves and soil to keep it fresh. Then there are “rancher ants” who herd smaller bugs like aphids from plant to plant to help them cross safely from weather and predators. In return, the aphids provide sugar water to the ants.

Ants are commonly consumed in Asian, African, and Latin countries. Some popular edible ant species are: leafcutters, weavers, honey, and black ants. This is because they’re such a plentiful species and are relatively easy to locate.

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BWCA summer 2023

By: Greta Johnson

Summer 2023 the Boundary Waters will be open to canoe, kayakers and backpackers once again. With over 1 million acres of federally protected land in the northeastern part of Minnesota and similar wilderness across the border in Canada. This year over 250,000 people visited the BWCA.

Many people have signed up for permits this summer. Most are “putting in” at an outfitter or an entry point and have planned trips through the wilderness for at least a couple days.

Planning is a very important part of a BWCA trip. If you’re
staying overnight you need food, a bear-bag or some kind of bear repellent to keep the food in, a tent (duh), and a way to filter your water which would be either a filtration system, iodine, or boiling your water.

You also need a mode of transport which could be on foot or in a canoe or kayak. Traveling through the BWCA can be very taxing on your body so you need to make sure to drink enough water and eat good and nutritious food. This will help with your energy levels and keep you going through the whole day.

Something else that is important to a successful BWCA trip is planning when you’re leaving and when you’re coming back, and then letting someone know. Since the woods can be a dangerous place if something happens to you and you don’t come back when you planned this person can let the authorities know.

Safety on the water is a vital part of a safe trip. If you’re choosing a canoe or kayak as your mode of transport then a life jacket and a paddle are two required parts of water travel.

You will also need sunscreen and bug repellent to stay safe from the sun and the bugs. Both are equally strong. And will bother you very much if you don’t do anything about it.

5 things to do when you’re bored in summer

By: Hannah Gliedman

Summer is one of the best times of the year. No school and all you have to worry about is hanging out with friends and not getting sunburnt. However, because summer is so long, not having things to do can make the time pass slowly and feel like you’re wasting the best time of the year. So here are 5 things to do when you’re bored and don’t know what to do in summer.

1. Make Friendship Bracelets
A very important summer staple is making friendship bracelets. These are extremely easy to make and have so much room to be creative. Whether you are making them by yourself, for your friend or with your friends they are always fun to make.

There are so many designs and tutorials, on friendship-bracelets.net or TikTok, out there to make very intricate and complicated, or cute and easy bracelets. With limitless colors and designs there is a chance you’re making a one of a kind design.

2. Beach Day
A super fun way to spend your day during the hot summer is at the beach. Find a lake or ocean and a group of friends to spend a day swimming, playing football or volleyball. Bringing a picnic could also be a fun way to pass the time while at the beach.

3. Bike Riding
One way to stay active and enjoy the warm weather during the summer is going on long bike rides. Especially in the Twin Cities there are many places, roads and trails, that provide beautiful scenery with just a little bit of biking. Whether you’re going for a leisurely ride to get some fresh air or on an intense ride for a workout, biking is a great way to mix the outdoors, hanging out with friends and getting in a great workout.

4. Backyard Campfire
Whether you have a fire pit in your backyard or go to a local park with pits, a campfire is such a fun way to pass the time with friends. Setting one up is easy and it’s a cute thing to do while just hanging out with friends.

5. Make a Scrapbook of Memories
One of the great parts about making summer memories is reminiscing on all the fun you had, and what better way to do this than to make a scrapbook. Fill it with a summer bucket list, pictures, quotes, stickers, and antidotes of good memories.

To find more ideas, look up summer scrapbook pages on Pinterest. If you want to splurge to make it extra special get a polaroid or disposable camera to get physical pictures with a vintage feel.