Add this to the long list of the hardworking ants' virtues: they're polite.
Burd, an evolutionary ecologist, says preliminary research into this introduced species of ant backs the 'slower is faster' paradox of crowd behaviour.
"If the average speed of each individual moving is slower, the whole crowd is evacuated faster, and ants are actually doing this," he says.
"Ants in a panic don't behave the same way as humans. They stay calm and are polite to each other. They are not trying to save their own lives, but are behaving for the good of the group."
Prof. Burd is now trying to apply what he learned about ant's crowd control technique into building design to help improve evacuation in cases of emergency:
"Perversely if you simply put a pillar in front of the doorway you increase the evacuation speed," he says.
"Having that obstruction stops people jamming against other people in the doorway."