An ant will go through a complete metamorphosis before reaching the adult stage. It will start off as an egg, and then hatch into a larva, before becoming a pupa and finally an adult. The vast majority of ants will be born in the worker caste, and they will be sterile, with their only purpose being to work for the growth and maintenance of the colony.
In any ant colony, there is only one essential member, and that is the ant queen. The ant queen is tasked with giving birth to an entire colony, and making sure that the members of the colony continue to grow in number. The queen can spawn multiple ant types, from the sterile female workers, to winged reproductive males and future queens, and what’s interesting is that the queen can control the type of ant it will spawn each time. A queen will live for many years, while workers tend to have a very short lifespan of a few months or more.
Each colony will start with a swarmer, which is a young winged queen that sets out of an existing colony along with hundreds or even thousands of other swarmers. After mating, the queen will lose its wings and start a new nest. This initial phase of the colony is tough, because the young queen has to handle everything, from tunneling, to foraging for food and taking care of the young. The queen is particularly vulnerable to predators during this time, but if it manages to survive until the first few workers reach maturity, then the colony is well on its way.
At this point, only a flash flood or some other rare occurrence could wipe the young colony out. The new group of workers will start to take on all the labor-related tasks, and the queen will be free to start spawning new colony members. Once the colony is large enough, the queen will spawn reproductive ants, and the cycle begins again.
As such, any control effort targeting ants has to destroy the queen, because without the queen, the colony will collapse even if a vast majority of the workers survive. This is why baits and direct-application insecticides are the go to methods when dealing with ants. For more information on these two methods and their costs, or if you have an ant infestation that has to be removed, contact us today.