This is a video from Youtuber Horace Zeng of a colony of fire ants using glass gravel to “pave” a piece of sticky tape so it can be walked across. Per Horace, who I’d like to believe isn’t just an ant torturer, because I saw those ants getting stuck to that tape and struggling to free themselves:
Another remarkable example of tool use in ants: fire ants “paving” sticky surfaces. I’ve seen signs of this behavior, but I didn’t expect it to be so robust until my friend told me about it (see more in Wen et al., 2021 Insect Science). You can try it yourself by putting a piece of paper with tape on a healthy fire ant mount (disturb them a little to make the process faster).
Yeah I’m not convinced they weren’t just making art. I mean they could walk around that piece of tape easisly, and ants aren’t that stupid. If you’re smart enough to ruin my picnic, I’m pretty sure you’re also smart enough to walk around a piece of tape instead of wasting a whole day bedazzling it first.