Worker Ants as Female

Go the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”  – Proverbs 6: 6 – 8


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1.  The field of science that concerns itself with the study of insects is known as entomology. I was once speaking to the senior teenagers at Horton Haven Christian Camp in Tennessee on Christian Evidences. When we discussed entomology – about half of the teenagers started referring to this field as “ANTomology”. Either way, this field has really only be around for just a couple of centuries. Prior to that, our understanding of bugs was very limited and focused chiefly on their relationship with agricultural matters.

2.  A French naturalist by the name of René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur was the very first to identify that the vast majority of ants were in fact female. This goes only as far back as 1742 or so. Today, we know that all worker ants are female. The males really only exist for procreation and are fairly lazy. The females do all the work. 1

3.  It is interesting that Solomon specifically uses the female pronoun to describe the worker ants. I am sure that students of linguistics will be quick to point out that this is a result of the Hebrew word for ant, namely ‘nemalah’, which is a feminine noun. I won’t argue the point, save to say that the pronoun used is spot on accurate in light of the species in view. The rest of the passage however evidences a remarkable insight into the practices of ants. 2