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Ants follow a trail because they are searching for food. When one ant finds food, it leaves a scent trail for the other ants in the colony to follow, telling them where they can find the food supply. When you see ants following a trail, it means they are off to get provisions for the colony.

Try this fun experiment to watch how ants communicate with one another by leaving a scent trail. Collect several small twigs and place them end to end to create an enclosed space not too far from an anthill. Don’t create a high enclosure; make it flat and wide. Drop some sugar or cracker crumbs within the enclosed space.

Wait for the ants to discover your gift. Soon they will find the food you’ve left for them, and as they take it away, they will leave a scent trail so they can return for more. Other ants in the colony will quickly catch the trail’s scent and follow it to the food source too. Once you have a trail of ants in pursuit of the food, carefully remove the sticks. Observe what happens: The ants become confused because their scent trail has been removed.