Yes, ants are strong. They can carry objects significantly larger and heavier than themselves. In fact, if we consider size and body weight, then ants are even stronger than us humans.
In this article we’ll learn more about ant strength as we discuss the following:
- How strong are ants
- Why are ants strong?
- If ants are stronger than humans
- How much weight ants can lift
- If ants are the strongest insects
How Strong Are Ants?
Ants are widely recognized as impressive creatures due to their remarkable strength. They’re capable of carrying objects larger and heavier than their bodies.
Most ant species can carry more than 10 times their own body weight. Some stronger species are even capable of carrying 50 times or more.
For example, an Asian weaver ant was photographed carrying a 500 mg (0.02oz) weight with its jaws. That’s about 100 times its own weight. That’s equivalent to an average man carrying 2 elephants. What’s more impressive though is that it did so while hanging upside down on a glass surface. 
Ants are also able to withstand immense amounts of pressure. Research has found that the neck joint of American field ants can withstand pressures up to 5,000 times the ant’s weight. While this doesn’t indicate how much ants can lift, it does show how strong their bodies are. 
Why Are Ants So Strong?
While it may seem counter-intuitive, ants are also strong because they’re small. This is because of scaling or size-strength allometry. 
To understand this, keep the following in mind:
- Strength. Muscle strength is proportional to the cross-sectional area of the muscle. This area is a two-dimensional measurement.
- Size. On the other hand, size is related to volume, a three-dimensional or cubic measurement.
- Weight. If density is constant, then weight becomes proportional to volume. Meaning the higher the volume, the heavier an object.
Since strength and size are measurements of different dimensions, they’ll scale differently.
Per scaling laws, strength scales in proportion to the law A(area) ∝ l2, where l is the length scale. If the shape is unchanged, then the area of an object will scale in proportion to the square of the length scale.
On the other hand, size scales in proportion to the law V(volume) ∝ l3. This states that volume scales in proportion to the cube of the length scale instead.
So should an object’s length be halved, its muscles would have ¼ of their normal strength. However, its weight and size would be ⅛ of normal. This ratio means that as something gets smaller and lighter, they get stronger.
To sum it all up, ants are able to exert greater force relative to their weight because they’re small.
Are Ants Stronger than Humans?
Ants are not stronger than humans when it comes to absolute strength. It’s impossible, for example, for an ant to carry something we consider light like a spoon or a fork.
However, in terms of relative strength then ants have us beat. Again, some ants can carry more than 50 times their body weight. That’s just impossible for humans. The average human will already struggle in lifting twice their body weight. Even the world’s strongest man was only capable of carrying around 2.5 times. 
How Much Can Ants Lift?
It varies from species to species. Ants can generally lift around ten times their own body weight while some can carry more than fifty. Given that ants may weigh around 1 to 5 mg, this means that they can carry objects weighing 10 to 250 mg or more.
Are Ants the Strongest Insects?
Ants are not the strongest insects. Some beetles like goliath and rhinoceros beetles are way stronger. These beetles can carry around 850 times their body weight.
To summarize, ants are strong. While they can’t lift many of the things we humans can, they’re considered to be one of the strongest animals. In fact, when it comes to relative strength they’re stronger than us humans.
On average ants can carry more than 10 times their own body weight. We humans, however, struggle to carry 2.