If you’ve ever had a massive ant invasion in your home you might think that half the ants in the world are in your kitchen—or at least a quarter of them. Not even close. Unless you live in Antarctica, where perhaps ironically, there are no ants, you live where ants outnumber every individual animal species – except bacteria.
Myrmecologists, biologists who study ants and get paid to think of such things, estimate there are one quadrillion ants roaming the earth. That’s the number 1 followed by 15 zeroes or, if you can image it, one million billion. That’s a lot of ants! And they come in about 14,000 different species and subspecies with new ones discovered every year.
While we’re throwing numbers around, ants are about one millionth of the size of humans. Although they’re small, the total weight of the entire world’s ant equals the total weight of all the earth’s people.
Ant fossils have been found in sap estimated to be over 100 million years old. When it comes to the tiny ant, millions, billions, and quadrillions are the only numbers that can describe them. Anything less would be ant-climactic.