It was more than four years ago when I had my first and only battle with an Australian bull ant and it didn’t end up as you would have expected.
I thought I had done everything right; I’d armed myself with a quite thick instruction manual, I’d taken a pretty accurate swipe, I’d knocked the critter to the floor, but…
Well, to find out what did happen to Antbo, the affectionate name I gave to this monster of an ant, have a read of my post…
In that post, I also refer to the critter as a ‘Giant Bull Ant‘; not sure if that’s technically true, but it was a big ant all the same.
Back to Melbourne
We were lucky this fellow was on his own, they normally hang around in gangs which they scarily prefer to refer to as ‘armies’.
I managed to take a photo of this big boy before he disappeared under some leaves. Once he’d disappeared from sight though, I wasn’t prepared to go rummaging amongst the foliage to try to find him again to take any more. This thing has large mandibles; think jaws, sort of, and I didn’t want my fingers anywhere near them.
Here’s the picture, can you see him? He’s in here somewhere…
There are about 90 species of these bull ants here in Australia and they are as feared in the ant world as they are by humans. Get this; Queen bull ants have been known to walk straight into the nest of another species of ants, kill their Queen ant and take over the colony.
Charming. Think “Game of Thrones”.
It doesn’t matter how big you are either, they will attack if they need to.
Get too close to one of these ant colonies and they will be streaming out of their nest and literary chasing you. If this happens to you, don’t be embarrassed, just….
They are very aggressive and have extremely painful venomous stings.
Their sizes range from around 8 mm to 40 mm, the one I saw was at least 20 to 25 mm and bordering on the biggest ant I have ever seen.
Whatever you choose to call them, bull ants, bulldog ants, jumper ants, sergeant ants, inch ants or even Mymecia if you want to get all scientific, it matters not; they are big ants and not to be messed with.