Ant colonies are often located underground, and they consist of one queen and a lot of workers. These colonies are tied together by common pheromones, and these pheromones are so distinct between colonies, that if one ant enters a colony that is not its own, it will be killed. Not only that, but ant colonies can often engage in warfare against each other over food and territory.
Ant colonies by species
Different species of ants live in colonies of different sizes. For example, argentine ants will live in colonies that have over 10,000 ants, while carpenter ants will live in colonies with 3,000 members. Of these numbers, the vast majority are workers, and most colonies only have one queen.
There are species that can form super colonies, which are comprised of multiple colonies. These super colonies can have millions of members, but only 20 out of the 12,000 ant species in the world are able to form this type of colony. Researchers have also recently discovered an intercontinental megacolony, which is composed of several supercolonies that are spread throughout the world. What ties these super colonies together is the same pheromone scent, which allows ants to travel freely between the colonies of the larger group.
Do all ant species live in colonies?
All ants are social insects, meaning that you will never have solitary ants that live on their own. In fact, it is likely impossible for a single ant to make it by itself out of the colony. Ants rely on each other for many reasons, ranging from food, to disease protection and protection from other insects. Once an ant leaves the safety of the colony it is at extreme risk, and unless we’re talking about a future queen, all ants will return home after they go out exploring and foraging for food.
Killing off an entire ant colony
Killing off an entire ant colony would be extremely difficult if you were to do it by targeting worker ants. However, if you target the queen, the colony would collapse onto itself once the queen is dead. This is the approach taken by most professional pest control methods. A insecticide-laced bait is used, and this bait is shared throughout the colony, and eventually the queen will eat it. If you would like to know more about ant control, or if you have an ant infestation in your home, contact us today.