Other Pollinators: Ants


Ant Pollination Ants are seen visiting flowers with great frequency. People often ask: Do ants pollinate? IAre ants capable of pollinating flowers? Do they have what it takes to carry pollen from one flower to another, preferably of another plant?

While ants are among the most abundant, diverse and ecologically important groups of insects, on the whole they are not good pollinators. A few succulents and other plants are pollinated by ants. Plants in harsh, drylands seem to rely on ants, as there might be few other pollinators available. Ant-pollinated succulent plants also tend to grow close to the ground where ants can more easily access the flowers

Why don’t ants make good pollinators? Most pollinators can fly from plant to plant. Ants, lacking wings, they typically forage only short distances. This means that they are not efficient at carrying pollen over long distances. between their nests and the plants. .

Ants are great lovers of nectar. These busy insects are often observed visiting flowers to collect energy rich nectar. They are more likely to take nectar without effectively cross-pollinating flowers.

Moreover, ants may be coated in some sort of antibiotics which may be detrimental to pollen. In some cases ants steal nectar from flowers, causing damage and reducing the likelihood of later pollinators' visits. Some plants resort to extra-floral nectaries, nectar-producing glands located in other plant parts, to keep the ants and other nectar robbers away from the valuable treasure reserved for legitimate pollinators.

Ant Anatomy Ant Flowers

The flowers that are visited by ants are typically:

• Low growing
• Have small inconspicuous flowers
• Have flowers that are close to the stem