A query from the inbox:

Hi, my question is regarding the gender of the worker ants (and the ant queen). As we all know; they are female, however was this discovered many centuries ago or is this a recent discovery?

I plead ignorance.  I know apiculturists had figured out the sex of worker bees in by the late 1700s, and that by the 1800s it was widely accepted that ant workers were also female. But that’s the extent of my knowledge.

So I’m punting to my diligent readers.  Do any of you know who first observed that ant workers are female?