On Dreamstime, there are 1456 images associated with ants. Grotesque and creepy as they may be perceived by some humans, ants are industrious and cooperative, each apparently knowing their role in maintaining the health of their community, something we humans could stand to apply to our own society.
Some photos are of real ants displaying typical ant behavior.
Others display considerable creative license.
Still others are flat out cartoony illustrations.
There are numerous images of carpenter ants, both realistic and imaginative.
But only one image specifically refers to Western Thatching Ants (Formica obscuripes). What is most intriguing about these industrious insects is in their habitat and their behavior. Their mounds are constructed from forest materials and can reach a height of three feet (1 meter) and diameter of almost four feet (1.25 meters). Their interconnected maze of tunnels can descend up to seven feet underground to form a colony of over 300 mounds representing a population over 13 million residents.
Another fascinating fact is that thatching ants eat pine beetle larvae. In forests where the ants colonize, the incidence of trees destroyed by pine beetles is significantly reduced. So despite their reputation as destructive biting pests, thatching ants serve a beneficial purpose to the forest ecosystem.
Although the search phrase "western thatching ants" or even "thatching ants" results in just that one image, the phrase "ant hill" results in numerous images of thatching ant mounds. Perhaps the owners of those photos might take these notes to heart, and add the words "thatching" and "western" (or "eastern" for their eastern United States counterparts) to their assortment of keywords.
Photo credits: Andrey Pavlov, Dmitry Maslov, Jeffrey Collingwood, Hung Meng Tan, Anatoliy Terebenin, Forca, Henrikhl, Kalensky, Gennadij Kurilin, Leoco, Magvaj, Mcandy77, Miknik, Vladimir Konjushenko, Grigoriy Pil, Sekernas, Dana Kenneth Johnson, Vladimirdavydov.