Pym and Ant-Man wear a transmitter. And it seems like the ants are outfitted, but there are an awful lot of them, which is not very believable.

(Admittedly, this is not the least believable thing in the movie, but on the other hand, everything else is based on imaginary particles and imaginary physics -- there didn't seem to be any supposed new physics or biology at work here. Hence notably unbelievable to me.)

  • 3
    The ants are hooked up with gear, like cameras and saddles, but I don't remember any receivers. For example, Scott trains with the presumably "wild" ants living in Hank's backyard.
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 7, 2015 at 16:16
  • Considering how exotic the species of ants in the movie were, I assumed that Dr. Pym had specifically prepared his yard as a home for ants that he imported.
    – Kevin
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:27

3 Answers 3


No, I believe the device Hank Pym invented can control ants anywhere.

We see Scott controlling what appears to be thousands of ants, including ones that he seems to summon at random (e.g. in Hope's car), and don't appear to have anything special done to them.

I'm not entirely sure what the devices that the ants are fitted with are supposed to be, but Hank's explanation for how his device works implies that it releases pheromones that the ants naturally want to respond to. The things hooked up to the ants are likely other random things (like cameras, bombs, etc.)


Some of the ants are outfitted with various pieces of equipment, but that's just to make them more useful to the Ant-Mans.

The transmitter controls the ants by converting the wearer's thoughts into electromagnetic pulses that the ants then process like they would pheromones. So he uses some form of electromagnetic radiation to fake out the ant's pheromone processing ability, which in turn lets him give them orders. He can do this to any ants, nearby or far away.


No, the ants are not fitted with receivers, the transmitter/receiver that is built into the helmet and earpiece talks directly to the ants' antennas. Hanks gives the "sciencey" explanation in the film:

Hank Pym: I use electromagnetic waves to stimulate their olfactory nerve center. I speak to them. I can go anywhere, hear anything, and see everything.


Then in Marvel's Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie we get a little bit more detail of how it works.

The ants are controlled via a small earpiece in the Ant-Man helmet. To help Scott learn to communicate with the ants, Hank gives him the earpiece to practice. The device functions much like the ant's antennas: It conveys information from the user, sharing thoughts and demands with the ants. The ants will only comply when the user is clear and focused--not Scott's strong points.

Marvel's Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie

The devices we see fitted to the ants are actually things to help utilise them better. For example we see the following:

  • Cameras

    A group of ants surround Scott at the entrance to the plane, each one has a camera strapped to its back

  • Saddles

    Scott rides Ant-thony in the saddle holding onto a grip in either hand

  • Electric shock devices (these are what we see Hank make and shrink and Scott attach I believe)

    A group of ants stand on the circuit boards, they eject devices from their backs which send out an electric charge and fry the boards

We also see the winch ant that lowers Scott in to grab the Yellowjacket suit and a few others. In Marvel's Ant-Man: The Art of the Movie we also have a bunch of concept art for even crazier ideas the ants could have had attached for them but were abandoned.

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