How Many Ants Are in the World? What 20 Quadrillion Ants Look Like (Graph)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Animals | November 9, 2023

Large ant sitting on top of the world looking at a man who is peering at the ant, wondering how many ants are there in the world, and how much is 20 quadrillion ants?

Have you ever asked yourself how many ants are in the world?

If you have ever had an ant infestation, you might assume that one-fourth of all ants in the world are in your kitchen.5 But… actually, that many ants probably wouldn’t fit.

You live in a world where ants outweigh every other individual animal species (total), except for microorganisms, unless you happen to be located in Antarctica, where there are no ants.

Biologists specializing in studying ants have calculated that there are around twenty quadrillion ants worldwide.

Imagine a million billion, or the number 1, followed by 15 zeros—plenty and lots of ants. There are over 14,000 distinct species and subspecies, and more are always found.

So, how many ants are in the world? Check out what 20 Quadrillion looks like and compares to in the following guide.

How Many Ants Are There in the World? (How Many Ants Are in the World Per Person?)

The ant population has skyrocketed. They are the most numerous and widespread of all insects and are also social insects that form colonies.

Roughly twenty quadrillion ants populate the planet.

How Many Ants Are in the World Compared to Other Species?

The number of ants in the world exceeds the population of any other known form of life except microbes. When it comes to the success of insects, ants are right up there with the best of them. They are experts at staying alive in the wilderness and can go without sustenance for many days, if not weeks.

Here is a comparison table of things similar to twenty quadrillion ants;

Common ItemHow Many Ants Tall?How Many Ants Weight?
One 6’ Tall Person, 200 poundsIt takes 492 ants to equal the height of one humanIt takes 300,000,000 ants to equal one person’s weight.
3 BR, One Floor HomeIt takes 744 ants to equal the height of one floor home with 3 bedrooms.It takes 600,000,000,000,000 ants to equal the weight of one floor home with 3 bedrooms.
Standard SUVIt takes 522 ants to equal the height of a standard SUV.It takes 7,500,000,000 (that’s 7 billion, five hundred million) ants to equal a standard SUV’s weight.
Loaf of BreadIt takes 19 ants to equal the height of a loaf of bread.It takes 1,500,000 ants to equal a loaf of bread’s weight.
ElephantIt takes 784 ants to equal the height of an elephant.It takes 14,250,000,000 ants to equal an elephant’s weight.
GiraffeIt takes 1,485 ants to equal the height of a giraffe.It takes 4,950,000,000 ants to equal a giraffe’s weight.
Giant Sequoya Tree (Redwood)It takes 22,655 ants to equal the height of a Giant Sequoia Tree (Redwood).It takes 4,050,000,000,000 ants to equal a Giant Sequoia Tree (Redwood).
Standard LaptopIt takes 18 ants to equal the height of a standard laptop.It takes 7,500,000 ants to equal a standard laptop’s weight.
48″ Flat ScreenIt takes 1,614 ants to equal the height of a 48” flat screen.It takes 31,500,000 ants to equal the weight of a 48” flat screen.
Standard Rubber TreeIt takes 14,829 ants to equal the height of a standard Rubber tree.It takes 1,653,465,000 ants to equal a standard Rubber tree’s weight.
Empire State BuildingIt takes 1,197,838 ants to equal the height of the Empire State building.It takes 547,500,000,000 ants to equal the weight of the Empire State building.
Pyramid in GizaIt takes 31,236 ants to equal the height of a pyramid in Giza.It takes 19,500,000,000,000,000 ants to equal the weight of a pyramid in Giza.
One Sheet of Letter PaperIt takes 756 ants to equal the height of a sheet of letter paper.It takes 15,000 ants to equal the weight of a sheet of letter paper.

Comparison Chart of 20 Quadrillion Ants

For comparison, check out how many of these other items are needed to weight as much as 20 quadrillion ants.

20 Quadrillion Ants


Weighs as much as 888,889 Elephants
Weighs the same as 2419.16 Olympic Sized Swimming pools filled with water.
Weighs as much as 392.16 giant ocean oil rigs.
Weighs as much as 2.6 million standard SUVs.

Identifying Types of Ants: Most Popular Ants, Types of Ants and Ant Sizes

The following table shows some of the varieties of ants and their notable characteristics, including ant sizes and locations.

Ant TypeIdentifying Characteristics
Carpenter AntThis ant can almost grow as large as 1/2 inch and is one of the largest ant. It Usually has a brown and black body, and loves to make its tunnels in dried wood.
Bullet AntThis ant prefers to live in a warm environment and can grow over an inch.
Fire AntThis ant usually grows up to ¼ inch and its queen can live for a long as 7 years.
Siafu AntsThis ant grows to less than half an inch and is also called driver ants.
Army AntIt’s considered one of the smallest type of ant with it’s length ranging from 0.1 inch to 0.50 inch. The queen army usually have a bigger gaster and doesn’t have wings.
Cow AntThis ant can grow up to ¾ on an inch. Though called an ant, it is actually a kind of wasp and doesn’t move in swarms.
Trap Jaw AntThis ant’s length ranges from about ¼ to ½ of an inch.
Thief AntIt’s one of the tiniest types of ants and can only grow up to less than 0.10 inch. This ant has either a yellow or light brown body.
Black Garden AntThis ant can grow from 0.11 inch to 0.19 inch. It is also called as garden ant or common ant.
Bull AntsThis ant can grow over 1 and ½ inches. It’s a huge ant species that has large eyes.
Panda AntThis ant doesn’t have an ant colony structure and grows less than 0.40 inch.
African AntsThis ant can grow over ½ of an inch and typically has a bright color.
Red Harvester AntThis ant can grow up to ¼ inch.
Argentine AntCompared with other ant species, the appearance of its kinds in a colony doesn’t differ. This ant can grow up to less than ⅛ of an inch.
Flying AntThis ant has two pairs of wings and can grow up to ¾ inch.
Crazy AntThis ant grows up to ⅛ inch and has a reddish-brown to bluish-gray body.
Dinosaur AntThis ant is a mid-sized species and grows up to less than ½ inch.
Ghost AntsThis small ant species grows up to less than 1/10 inch and has a pale color compared with other ant species.
Leaf Cutter AntThis ant grows up to ⅖ inch with its worker ants having tiny heads.
Pavement AntThis ant typically builds its colony under pavements and can grow a little over 1/10 of an inch.
Pharaoh AntsIt’s one of the tiniest ant species. The adult pharaoh ant can only grow up to less than 1/10 of an inch. It’s body usually has a light yellow color.
Sugar AntIt’s

How Many Ants Are in a Colony?

The average size of an ant colony is between 50,000 and 500,000 members. Millions upon millions of ants may live in a single colony. Species and geographical location greatly affect the precise number of ants that make up a colony.

Collective ant societies are highly structured and characterized by eusocial behavior. The queens, workers, drones, and warriors all pitch in to keep the colony running efficiently. For these and other reasons, ants have persisted for a long time.

How Many Ants Die a Day?

It’s not hard to figure out how many ants die per day if one quadrillion dies each year (assuming each lives a year on average).

That’s the equivalent of 2,739,726,000,000 ants dying every day. It’s a harsh reality that many ants perish daily due to their limited lifespan.

How Many Ants Are There Per Person? (How Many Ants per Person?)

Around 7.9 billion people live on earth, with the Vatican City having the smallest demographic at about 800 and China having the largest at over 1.4 billion. The projected twenty quadrillion ants indicate about 1.2 billion ants for every human.

How Many Ants Die a Second?

With approximately 2,739,726,000,000 ants dying daily, these figures will result in almost 31,673,132 ants dying per second.

How Many Ants Die a Year?

If ants only live for a year, that’s around sixty million deaths annually. We must qualify this as speculation, given the computation is based on assumptions.

With the estimate that there are twenty quadrillion ants on earth.2 The second working hypothesis is that the typical ant lifespan is one year.

Wondering how many ants are in the world? It has been estimated that there is twenty quadrillions. The true figure is far smaller. However, ants may have shorter life spans than expected, increasing the mortality rate even further.

How Many Ants Die When It Rains?

Ants dislike being wet in general. They thus have various creative escape plans and survival techniques for when it rains.

Ants stockpile more food, construct taller walls around the ant nest, and cover the nest entrance before the rainy season starts, according to ants’ studies.

Black ants heading towards and gathering around the entrance of an ant nest in the sandy soil.

(Image: makamuki07)

Ants become slower when the weather becomes colder because their body temperatures decrease. To save body heat and energy for the winter, ants in colder areas consume more in preparation.

They then burrow into the earth and huddle together. Chilly winter in an ant colony results in little activity. However, the ants may not hibernate if they reside in a more moderate environment.

If ants are trapped in a flood of strong rain, they may still have a chance of survival. They can’t rise above the sea because they’re too light.

Because of this, they can walk on water. When confronted with a torrent of rain, fire ants, being the communal unit they are, go even farther and form a raft by holding together.

How Many Humans Die Every Day?

Around 65 million lives are lost every year. That comes to 178,000 daily, 7,425 per hour, and 120 minutely.

About a quarter of a billion people call the United States home (320 million of 7.6 billion). An estimated 2,6 million people die in the United States annually. However, those numbers have recently increased with some reports indicating that mortality rates in a number of countries across the globe have increased 17% in the last year alone.

How Many Queen Ants Are There?

The vast majority of ant species are colonial insects that share their homes with many others. A colony might have two or more generations coexisting at once. Males, workers, and queens each have specialized roles in these ant colonies.

“Polygyne” refers to ant species with several queens in their nests. It is called a monogyne colony when there is just one queen that lays eggs.

The reproductive classes include the queen ants and the males. In a colony, they play the most crucial role by ensuring the continued existence of their species.

Generally speaking, queen ants of all species tend to be bigger than the rest of their colonies. The queen ant is identifiable due to her larger size and her thicker body. Queen ants have bigger bellies than worker ants and wing muscles that are unique to their social status.

How Many Ants Would It Take To Kill an Elephant?

The Maricopa harvester ant may kill a person with only a few hundred stings. Taking the median human weight as 130 pounds (a bit higher), an African bush elephant’s weight of over 13,000 pounds is around 100 times that of a person.

Assuming the same toxicity in elephants, where one sting may kill, it would take 300,000 ants to kill an elephant if they all sting once.

There are only approximately 10,000 individuals in a colony of this species of ants. Thirty ant colonies working together would be necessary to bring down an elephant.

Total Weight of Ants on Earth vs Humans

The total mass of all the ants in the world would equal that of all the humans. This assertion was first stated by Edward O. Wilson, a professor at Harvard University, and Bert Hoelldobler, a biologist from Germany, in their 1994 book Journey to the Ants.

They arrived at that figure by extrapolating from a previous one by British entomologist C B Williams. He estimated that there were one million trillion insects at any time on earth.

Could Ants Take Over the World?

Researchers are worried about a worldwide invasion after discovering a massive ant colony in Ethiopia. This is the third such find in many years, pointing to the ants’ potential to become an invasive species in new regions.

Close-up of a Red ant colony nest inside a dead tree trunk.

(Image: Jimmy Chan8)

Multiple nests of genetically unrelated ant families may labor and live together in a super colony, defying the norms of evolutionary behavior.

These structures may expand by as much as 30 meters per year in either direction. Only roughly 20 percent of the world’s 13,000 ant species have been seen to exhibit super colony behavior.

How Many Fish Are There in the World?

There are around 33,000 known fish species.6 The rate at which new ones are found suggests that this figure might increase dramatically in the years to come. After all, we’ve only discovered around 20% of the ocean’s surface; the other 80% may hold anything.

Researchers think there are around 3.5 trillion fish in the world’s waters. Regarding fish diversity, freshwater habitats are home to almost half of all species.

How Much Does an Ant Weight? (Weight of an Ant in Kg)

If a human adult weighs 62 kilograms, a typical ant would be about 60 milligrams.

Francis Ratnieks, a professor at the University of Sussex, adds, “There are ants that weigh 60mg, but they are truly the huge ants.” The typical garden ant weighs just 1 mg or 2 mg.

How Many Ants Aren’t There?

You live in a world where ants outweigh every other animal species, except for bacteria, unless you happen to be located in Antarctica, where, perhaps paradoxically, there are no ants. Scientists specializing in studying ants (called myrmecologists) have calculated that there is around twenty quadrillion ant worldwide.

Total Weight of All the Ants in the World Is Much Greater Than

Experts believe more than 7.9 billion people live on planet earth. Even while this is an incredible number, humans aren’t the only species to have hit seven billion. As may be expected, ants have long since passed that threshold, with their current population likely exceeding 100 trillion.

Ants only weigh 2.5 million tons. To put it another way, people outnumber ants 193 to 1. Ants may have outnumbered humans at one point, but ants don’t have nearly the biomass they formerly had.

How Many Cockroaches Are in the World?

In part, because they may be found indoors and outdoors, cockroach populations can be difficult to estimate. The vast majority of cockroach species, including some of the largest cockroaches, never enter houses but instead remain exclusively in the wild.

An intrusion of cockroaches crawling on a dead tree trunk.

(Image: Griffin19829)

In addition, cockroach populations fluctuate widely according to factors such as the time of year, the degree of global warming, the accessibility of food, the prevalence of pesticides, and the level of pollution.1 It isn’t easy to estimate the global cockroach population. No previous studies have even attempted to estimate the number of roaches living in a single home.

But research done in 1986 found that the average low-income home is home to over 2,600 cockroaches at any one moment. Recent studies have led entomologists to agree that there are between 1 and 2.8 trillion cockroaches on the earth. Nonetheless, these are just estimates, and one now has access to the precise data.

Why Are There So Many Ants in the World? (How Many Ants Are in the World?)

To understand how many ants are in the world? Ants did not always inhabit this planet. About 120 million years ago, experts claimed, contemporary ants developed for the first time.

Fossil evidence, however, shows that ants weren’t quite as prevalent then as they are now. The ants didn’t become dominant ecologically until 60 million years later when they modified their diets to account for blooming plants.

Lots of ants get their glucose fix from blooming plants. Several carpenter ants build protective nests around the plant bases to defend their food source and territory from predators.

Ants in hot, arid climates have adapted strategies for conserving food for extended periods of drought. The bodies of honeypot ants serve as containers.

How Many Ants Are in a House?

While normal ant colonies may be home to 100,000 ants at most, super colonies may include as many as a million ants.

How Many Queen Ants Are in a Colony?

Colony size is directly related to the number of queen ants. A reproductive queen is essential to the survival of every ant colony.

Throughout her lifespan—typically 10–15 years—the queen ant will continue to produce eggs and expand the ant colony. Single-queen colonies are common among some ant species. Some colonies have more than one queen but are rare.

How Many Black Ants Are in a Colony?

The black ant (Lasius niger) is the only ant often seen inside and is the most common ant found in gardens. They may be found throughout the countryside and like to raise their young on dry, sandy soil that is not completely barren.

However, unlike many other ant species, which often have many queens per colony, Black ant colonies only have one. A mature colony of Black ants consists of the queen and anything from 4,000 to 7,000 female workers; a vast colony might include as many as 15,000. The queen is the only one that lays eggs; the workers are responsible for finding food, caring for the larvae, and constructing the nest.

Types of Ants in a Colony

Depending on the species being discussed, the number might easily reach the thousands.3 Ant nests or decomposed organic matter like leaf litter may be found in the ground. On the other hand, a nest may also be found within a building.


Some ant species and colonies are known to be aggressive against others of different species. Some ants may sting to guard their territory or ward off attackers. Here are the different types of ants in a colony;

Worker Ants

The queen produces eggs while the workers tend to the colony’s needs. Worker ants in a colony may serve in a variety of capacities. Eggs, larvae, and pupae need the attention of certain employees.

Worker ants often clean the eggs, and the larvae are also typically fed by them. It is interesting to notice that worker ant larvae are fed less than queen ant larvae, yet this difference is not seen in reverse. The worker ants who care for the young seldom go far from the nest.

Some of the ants may leave the nest to go out and find food for the others. Larger ants tend to go farther from the colony. Interestingly, these ants usually leave substances behind that assist them in finding their way.

Moreover, the ant nest is constructed by worker ants. One way in which ants communicate is by the usage of chemical signals detected by the antennae. The ant colony expands its nest in response to a rise in its numbers.

Queen Ants

Despite the prominence of the worker ants, the queen ant is also crucial. The queen lays her sperm in a pouch in her stomach. These sperm are what she utilizes to fertilize her eggs. Fertilization turns an egg become a male, but if it fails, the resulting embryo is a girl. The typical lifespan of a queen ant may be between 10 and 15 years.

Flying Ants

When its mating seasons, flying ants appear. A nuptial flight involves a queen ant and several male ants, leaving the original colony to start a new one.

The ants will land in a new location, shed their wings, and begin constructing a colony immediately. Colony growth is ensured by the queen ant’s constant egg laying, which the worker ants do after constructing the nest for her.

Young flying ants often swarm at various times throughout the year, usually when they feel it is time to establish a new colony via mating.

Ant Colony: How Many Ants Are in the World?

Although the sight of ants crawling all over the ground may give the impression that they do not live in a very organized society, this is not the case. Castes are groups of ants that have a common function, such as gathering food or protecting a nest. There are three sexes among ants: males, workers, and queens.

Close-up of a small group of worker ants collecting a tiny piece of cake on the ground covered with dried thin leaves and twigs.

(Image: Petr Ganaj10)

It is the queen ant’s job to produce offspring. Shortly after mating, males die. The worker ants are all females, and they are the ones that remain in the ant colony to do things like caring for the young.

Depending on the species, ant colonies might have more than one queen.4 Queen ants tend to be the largest members of the colony.

After mating, a queen ant will shed her wings. Yes, even male ants can fly. Common worker ants lack wings.

What Are the Scary Facts About Ants?

Perhaps it is for the best that ants are so little. And if they were only half your size, you’d break like a twig in their hands.They may be little, but these critters can lift several times their weight.

Here are scary facts about ants you should know;

Slavery Is a Common Activity with Ants

Colonization is not limited to human beings. Generally speaking, ants invade other ant colonies to take their eggs and young. The infants are then either eaten or enslaved. This behavior is essential for the survival of certain ant species.

Slave-making ants use the stolen workers to sustain their nests. Some of these ants starve to death without stolen food.

They Are More Than the Human Population

You may stare at thousands of ants when you uncover an ant nest under a rock. Just think about how many there are around the globe right now.

There is no need to make something up. The ant population is above twenty quadrillions which makes our seven billion mark seem like a drop in the bucket.

Ants Made It Through the Great Extinction

Roughly 65 million years ago, an enormous cataclysm extinguished the dinosaurs and almost all other life forms on earth. The ant population, which had existed before the catastrophe, not only survived but exploded.

The ant population became more diverse as time went on, and that variety helped them evolve into the terrifying microbes they are today.

Collaboration Across Species Is a Common Practice for Ants

Although ants can accomplish their aims without other species’ help, they often do so. Fungi, which have several potential uses, are grown with the aid of over 200 different kinds of ants.

For a long time, scientists believed that ants were responsible for transmitting this fungus to subsequent generations of ants. The fungus was previously unknown and transmitted to other ant species until recently.

How Many Fire Ants Are in a Colony?

Colonies of fire ants often include between 100,000 and 500,000 worker ants and several hundred other species of ants. About 7 million red fire ants may be seen living in the mounds created by a single queen colony.

Multiple queen colonies may cause an infestation of up to 40 million fire ants and 200 or more mounds per acre.

From the above facts, its now easier to understand how many ants are in the world.


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