What Can Ants Climb? This Surprised Me!

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on Where Do Ants Live in Winter and What Can Ants Eat, Lets find out

Ants are such exciting insects. They can walk on just about any surfaces that they may see. Ants can also carry anything  that is twice its size. They can even walk on your ceilings without the risk of falling. However, ants cannot climb surfaces that are too hot and too cold for them because it may be hard for them to bear. 

What Can Ants Climb Up?

Ants can climb just about any surface there is. These include walls, glass, stairs, metal, stainless steel, and fishing line. This is all thanks to their adhesive feet that work like suction cups.

Most surfaces are high for ants to climb. However, there are some that they are not able to climb at all. It may be because the surface is too slippery for them to walk on. In this article, you will learn about the way ants climb certain surfaces and how they can stick on just about any surface.

Ways On How These Small Critters Climb

You might be thinking about how ants can easily climb walls and different surfaces. They can walk vertically and horizontally without falling. Ants really do defy gravity in such away. It’s no magic, though. Ants have little pads that are called arolia, which gives them the ability to climb any surfaces.

Ants use claws to climb

The arolia are located between their hooked claws on the tips of their legs. They can stick on the surfaces with the same principle as pieces of plastics or suction vacuums. However, if an ant is climbing through rough surfaces, they use their claws instead. 

This would avoid them from falling off the surface. If you could see your walls and ceilings through a microscope, there are plenty of places where ants can place their claws during their climb. They can generate enough force on their bodies to keep them from falling off of a specific surface.

Ants use their muscles to climb

Ants also have powerful and modified muscles than humans, which is why they can climb different surfaces so quickly. The way they climb is as simple as walking for us humans. This is all because of the fibers that they have on their legs. Check our How strong are Ants article

The fibers provide enough friction to keep them stuck on walls and ceilings. The adhesive pads that ants possess also secrete small amounts of fluids between the pad and the substrate. The ant’s structure is usually direction-dependent. 

Ants use their hairs to Climb

They attach only when they are pulled towards their bodies but detaches when they pull away. Having said this, this is why ants are able to climb any surfaces without falling or slipping along the way. Some ants also have hairs to help them climb.

On a rough surface, the hair generates high friction force in the pulling direction. On the other hand, the reverse effect is done on a smooth surface. When the ant’s hairs were pushed, buckling was observed for forces exceeding a particular strength that is found in climbing ants.

So ants can climb up

Possessing these abilities really helps ants live their daily lives. It helps them get their food for their daily lives as well as avoiding any threat that they may find along the way. Another great thing about their way of climbing is that they are safe from falling. With the suction like legs, it will help them move quickly in vertical places. 

Ants Won’t Die If It Falls from Climbing

Just like any animal in the world, there may be times where an ant loses its grip and fall. However, they won’t die if they fall from high places. Ants are too small and weighed too little for them to die when they hit the floor.

Why don’t ants get hurt when they fall?

As you may know, when an object tends to fall, it depends on their size, shape, and mass to determine how hard they are going to hit the ground. Anything smaller than a mouse can live when falling from high places. 

Therefore, an ant is not afraid of gravity, and it can fall on the floor without any danger. In their daily lives, if an ant faces a predator, it can jump into thin air. They can move from one branch to another without getting hurt.

  • A great example is when ants see other insects that they know they can’t handle while getting their food, they will usually move from a different plant. The significant part about this is that even the wind will not stop them from falling. Surprising at it may be the wind actually helps them from moving from plant to plant.

Can A Ant die from falling?

The ants use their legs to move through the air and glide back towards tree trunks and branches. The air resistance is what prevents the ant from falling splat on the floor. If air resistance is not present, then the velocity of an ant would be faster, and they would die when they fall.

If there is an average amount of wind present, then ants would not fall to fast and can still prevent them from dying. You have to keep in mind that the smaller your mass is, the less the force of gravity will pull you down. 

Fact behind these

However, the smaller your surface area is, the less air resistance will slow you down. The critical thing to remember is that the mass shrinks faster than the surface area. If you are ten times smaller, then your surface area would be a hundred times less.

These same facts will be the same explanation on how ants can carry anything that is twice or thrice their weight.

Surfaces that Ants Can’t Climb

There are a lot of ant species that are quiet adapt to climbing up on any kind of solid substances. However, there are some surfaces where they can’t climb. If the surface is too hot or too cold for them to handle is one instance where ants do not have the capability of climbing.

Ants cannot climb up Teflon coated surface

For those who own a garden in their home and would like to get rid of ants in their plants. There are also those who experience ants being inside their home. If you have a clean and non-abraded Teflon coated the surface in your home, it will cause ants to slide. 

This will serve as a barrier so that you can prevent the ants from climbing any surface in your home or plants. However, ants can still walk across a Teflon coated surface that is placed vertically rather than horizontally.

Ants cannot climb up Fluon surface

Another thing that you can use is fluon. Fluon is a substance where some people make artificial ant nests. Now, this substance is similar to Teflon, where the surface is slippery as well as long as this is applied to walls horizontally, creating a barrier for the ants to climb.

As long as you maintain this surface, it can last you for several months, and the significant part about it is that it’s non-toxic. There is one thing that you will need to take note of. Fluon is water soluble and not oil based, which means if the container is dry, it can last very long. 

Ants cannot climb up any polished or glass surface

All you need to do is rub it away with a cloth. This substance is compatible with any surfaces such as glass, plastic, or any polished metals. It is best to use it on vertical surfaces in the nest and forgoing areas. 

Ants cannot climb up the aluminum surface

The last thing that ants are unable to climb is aluminum. Due to its smooth surface, the ants will have the chance to place their claws or suction like legs on the surface. Some popular techniques that people use are putting water on an aluminum foil so that the ants would not climb on your plants or food.

  • You may think that ants can climb just about anything; however, just like any insects out there, they have their own limitations. Any slippery surface can do the trick if you don’t want ants climbing in different places in your garden or home. 

Other ants barriers

There are a lot of things that you can do in your home to prevent these little critters from climbing in different places. Using natural ingredients that you may find in your homes, such as oil, tin foil, or vapor rubs, will really help.

If using these techniques still does not help, calling an exterminator would really help these ants clear out of your garden or your home. 


Ants are such unusual species, and knowing how they climb surfaces are excellent. There are different surfaces where ants can climb and walk on. Ants have little pads on their feet called arolia, which serves as a suction so that they can stay on walls and ceilings. Surfaces that ants can walk on include walls, glass, stairs, metal, stainless steel, aluminum, and fishing line. Now, there are also times where gravity wins against ants. Having said this, ants won’t die if they fall from high places such as ceilings. This is because of their weight and size. Ants are such fascinating insects, and you can learn so much from them. Having the strength to climb different surfaces makes them the super insects they are!

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on Where Do Ants Live in Winter and What Can Ants Eat, Lets find out

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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