Ants are eusocial insects native to Earth. They are among the most socially advanced species on the planet, being one of the few earthly creatures capable of operating as a unified entity. Ants form organized colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of workers. Most colonies consist mostly of sterile, wingless females forming castes of specialized groups, while one fertile female and one fertile male. The queen and her drones are in charge of breeding other workers.
During the 1990s, the scientist Hank Pym managed to create a device to communicate with ants, using it to control them, becoming the Ant-Man. Pym eventually passed on the device to his daughter, Hope van Dyne and the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, who proceeded to use them as helpers during his superhero activities.
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Attempting to Communicate
Ants were a significant item of scientific focus for Doctor Hank Pym. In his studies, he created the Ant-Man Suit, which not only allowed the user to shrink down to the size of an ant, but also allowed them to communicate and manipulate the activity of actual ants.
When Loki first arrived on Earth and announced his intentions to conquer it, he compared humanity's lack of quarrel with him to an ant's lack of quarrel with a boot. Following his comparison, when Nick Fury saw Loki imprisoned aboard the Helicarrier, he called Loki an ant and the cage his boot.
In order to make sense of Alphonso Mackenzie's sudden change in behaviour after entering the Kree City, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons compared his mind controlled state to the entomopathogen known as: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a fungus that corrupts the minds of ants and transforms them into "Zombie Ants".
When Pym later visited Lang in prison, he commanded the Ants to crawl over the security camera lens, obscuring Pym from the footage.
Pym later sent a small squadron of ants with a pre-shrunken Ant-Man Suit into Lang's prison cell, commanding them to activate the suit, giving Lang an opportunity to escape. The ants began arranging themselves into numbers, telling Lang how long Lang had until Gale inspected his cell.
- "Get back, get back, get back!"
"Scott, these are my associates."
"Huh? You got a camera on an ant? Yeah, sure, why not? Where’s the car?"
"No car, we’ve got wings. Incoming! Put your foot on the central node and not the thorax."
"Are you kidding..? How safe’s this?"
"Get on the damn ant, Scott!"
- ―Scott Lang and Hank Pym
Putting on the suit, Lang shrunk down and escaped the police building. Making it outside, Lang found himself surrounded by dozens of ants, causing Lang to panic. However, Hank Pym's voice over the suit's radio informed him that the ants were harmless. Lang tentatively approached the ants, climbing onto one of them, who promptly took off, landing on a moving police car, before taking off again and landing on a tram, trawling over a newspaper and being swatted at by a girl when it flew near her head. Flying over a steam vent, the updraft propelling it over San Francisco, where Lang, stressed out from the experience, passed out, falling out of the ant's saddle. The ant managed to catch Lang before he impacted with the ground.
- "Ugg, you don't bite me, I don't step on you, deal?"
- ―Scott Lang
At the Pym Residence, Scott Lang woke to find the floor covered in Bullet Ants, causing him to worry. However, when he placed his foot down on the ground, the ants made room for his feet. When having breakfast with Pym and his daughter Hope van Dyne, Pym offered Lang some sugar for his tea, which Lang agreed to. Pym then commands several ants to push sugar cubes across the table, to which Lang then denied to consume, with the ants placing the cubes back to the sugar bowl. Lang asked Pym how he was able to make the ants follow his commands, with Pym explaining his EMP Communication Device.
Working with Lang
- "Ok, who's next?"
With Lang agreeing to becoming the next Ant-Man, Pym and van Dyne began teaching him about several ant species and their purposes on his upcoming mission. First, Lang was taught about the Crazy Ants. When Lang shrunk down to interact with the ants, a crazy ant jumped on him in a playful manner, to Lang's amusement, only to be suddenly swarmed by the insects, freaking Lang out, subsequently returned to human size, causing Lang to feel embarrassed about the issue. Lang then interacted with several bullet ants, where he was taught about their purpose as powerful attackers. Lang next was introduced to the carpenter ants, one whom he recognised as the ant who he road during his escape, subsequently naming the ant Ant-thony, forming a bond with it. Lang finally learned about fire ants, being taught on how to use them as bridges and pillars. Lang attempted to use the EMP Communication Device to command the ants to place sugar cubes into a teacup, unfortunately struggling to do so. Van Dyne lost her patience with Lang and snatched the device away from him, demonstrating her control over the ant, only to lose the control, causing the ants to cover the light globes in the room. Pym shook her out of it, causing van Dyne to become embarrassed at her inability to command the ants and left the room. Lang followed her out to her car, where she told him to use he connection with his daughter to control the ants, being able to command them to flip a coin.
On a stealth incursion to the New Avengers Facility, Lang equipped numerous carpenter ants with Pym's cameras, sending them around the facility as lookouts. When Lang was confronted by the Falcon, Lang used Ant-thony to evade the Avenger, managing to escape the facility with the signal decoy.
- "I’m going to signal the ants. Assume formation. Alright you cute little crazies, let’s fry these servers!"
During the firefight in the Futures Lab, Hope van Dyne used her EMP Communication Device to command several ants to jam Darren Cross's gun. Mitchell Carson was also attacked by several ants, but managed to steal the counterfeit Pym Particles and retreated while ripping ants off his skin. Cross retreated to a helicopter, only to see a swarm of ants heading his way. Taking a gun, he fired on the ants, killing several, including Ant-thony, but missed Lang. Lang managed to board the helicopter before it took off, yet the updraft scattered the ants, leaving them behind.
During the duel in the Paxton Residence, Ant-Man summoned a swarm of ants, who assisted him in battling a crazed Yellowjacket, attacking him with their mandibles, forcing Yellowjacket to evade the attacks, confusing him as he had to fight a small army as well as Lang. During the fight, a Pym Particles Disk struck one of the ants, causing it to grow to the size of a dog, where it escaped the house, trampling Jim Paxton and startling his partner Gale.
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- Bullet Ants - Paraponera clavata
- Carpenter Ants - Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Ant-Man used these as transportation, in particular the flying male drones such as Ant-thony.
- Crazy Ants - Nylanderia fulva
These ants can conduct electricity and can be used to carry cameras and other devices, like electric coils that Ant-Man used to fry Cross Technologies's computers. These ants are commonly called "crazy ants" because, instead of following straight lines, they dash around erratically.
- Fire Ants - Solenopsis mandibularis
Fire ants are strong and durable. Ant-Man used them to create long structures, like rafts and bridges.