August 7, 2015 1:33 PM   Subscribe

Did I destroy these ants?

I recently discovered an ant colony when I dumped the earth out of an old flower pot. I freaked out about as much as the ants - 1000s of little critters scrabbling around, carrying translucent white eggs and ewwwwwwwwwww dear God.
I just kind of spread the earth around with a shovel and ran away.

What will happen to the ants now? (They're garden variety black european ants in the yard of an apartment building).
I'm kind of torn between feeling guilty and ewwwww die die die. (It's not their fault. I'm just a city dweller, out of touch with nature. As long as they stay outside, i can ignore them.)
posted by Omnomnom to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
They will probably carry the queen and babies to a new location, if they can. Ants have an emergency protocol for times like these. You may have killed them, but you'd be surprised how robust they are.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:46 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes they are fine. An anthill being disturbed/stepped on, like an asteroid being blown up by a hydrogen bomb, is a thing that re-forms within hours.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

And yes, most likely they will stay outside, out of your way. Many types of ants, don't want to live indoors.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:43 PM on August 7, 2015

I'm just a city dweller, out of touch with nature.

You really don't seem out of touch with nature. ;) It's kind you're worried about them.

They'll be fine. Their systems are designed for upheaval and they can figure out dirt. They do nice things for the soil, actually, with their tunneling and whatnot.

Whenever you see lots of bugs in one place it's kind of freaky. One ladybug=cute, 500 ladybugs on your bedroom ceiling=less cute.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:05 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

The answer to that question is almost always going to be no. You may have disrupted them, but as a very resilient super-organism, ants are extremely capable at surviving as a colony.

They will be just fine.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 1:20 PM on August 10, 2015

Response by poster: I'm not sure how I feel about all this, but thank you for your answers! My (horrible little) ants are okay!
posted by Omnomnom at 9:45 AM on August 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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