However, that wasn't the case. The little ant stayed on my windshield until I made it to the local shops I was stopping at, about 10 minutes away for me, and a million miles away for that little ant. That lead to the question of the day: what happens to an ant that gets separated from its colony?
The sad answer is that it's pretty much doomed to die, unless it's the queen. Here's more info from an article I found on Huffington Post:
The first option: without the chemical trail to go back home, the worker ant is doomed. It could eat and survive on its own, sure, but why? It lost its purpose in life. It cannot reproduce or start a new colony. It will keep walking until it finds its nest or dies ... and the latter is very likely. An ant protected by other ants, especially soldiers, is one of an army. An ant by itself is a light snack. Also, if the night is too cold, the ant will freeze without the relative warmth of the nest.I'm not going to lie. I feel kinda bad, but random question of the day has been answered!
What if it meets another colony of the same species? It depends: sometimes it will get lucky and be accepted, but more likely it will be killed. Each colony has a unique "passport pheromone" on all ants in the nest, allowing the ants to smell if another ant is family or an invader. Whether these pheromones are nest- or just species-specific likely varies among the ant world.
Happy Monday friends!