Thursday, 01 August 2013 16:39

How Fast Are Ants? (The Speed of an Ant)

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The short answer:

how fast do ants run

The 2 millimeter ants in our video can run approximately 3 inches per second, or 900 feet per hour. Keep in mind that the ants in this video are rather quick (even for ants) and do not necessarily represent all ant species. In our observations, most ants are a little slower than this. 2 inches per second is a closer approximation of the average ant's speed.


Information about the video: The track is measured at 12 inches or 1 foot. The timer being used is a built-in timestamp for Cyberlink Powerdirector. We also used a stopwatch while we were filming, but found the timestamp to be just as accurate. The ants are approximately 2mm long, and as of right now we are unsure of their species. We will update when the information is known.



How fast could an ant run if it were the size of a human? (The long answer)

As we saw in the video an ant can run anywhere from one inch per second to 3 inches per second, and probably much faster and slower than that. Choosing which speed you are to use will greatly affect the outcome of your calculation. The ants in our video ran one foot in approximately 4 seconds, which is about 3 inches per second. Since these are pretty fast moving ants, especially for their small size. We'll use a slower number of 2 inches per second for our equation to calculate an approximate speed.

How fast does the ant run?

2 inches per second

In 1 minute an ant will run 10 feet or 120 inches - (2 inches x 60 seconds = 120 inches - convert to feet 120 ÷ 12 = 10 feet).

In 1 hour the ant will run 600 feet or 7200 inches - 10 feet x 60 minutes = 600 feet per hour (fph)

There are some variables to consider when scaling it up to human size. We will use it's length and scale it up by calculating how far that distance is compared to the ants body length.

Ants can range in size from 2 millimeters to one inch. The average size ant is about 6 millimeters. The Western Harvester Ant that comes with most ant farms is around 6 millimeters long, so we will use that length.

How far is the ant traveling relative to it's body length?

At 6 millimeters long, in an hour the ant is traveling 30,480 times it's body length.

(There are multiple ways to do this) We get this number by converting 600 feet into millimeters (using Google's conversion tool), which is 182,880 and then dividing by the ants length of 6 millimeters, which equals 30,480 the ants body length.

How far would a human travel relative to it's body length?

An average 6 foot man (5'10" actually) would have to travel 182,880 feet in an hour to equal the ants distance.

To get that number we take a 6 foot man (for easier math) and multiply his body length times 30,480. Which is 182,880 feet.

Now we divide the length traveled by the distance of a mile, 5,280 feet to get the final speed of 34.6 miles per hour.

There you have it. If an ant were the size of a human it could run 34.6 mph

The results are quite different if we use the ants and the ant's speed from our video:

3 inches per sec. x 60 seconds = 15 feet per minute

15 feet x 60 minutes = 900 feet per hour

Convert 900 feet into millimeters = 274,320mm per hour

274,320 millimeters ÷ 2 millimeters (the ants length) = 137,160 times it's body length

137,160 x 6 feet (human body length) = 822,960 feet

822,960 feet ÷ 5,280 (mile) = 155.86 mph

That seems unbelievably fast. If anyone has any questions, comments, corrections, or recommendations. Please feel free to contact us about it and we will respond to your concerns.


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