You can think of an ant colony as a superorganism that has many moving parts, with the life of an individual ant being quite insignificant. However, it can still be informative to look at the life of an ant in order to determine how these insects behave and what are the best ways to keep them out of the home.

Ant castes

There are two main castes in most ant colonies – the workers and the reproductives. Workers are the backbone of the colony. They build, forage for food and take care of the ant larvae. The reproductives include the queen and the swarmers, the latter of which are winged future queens and males that fly out of the colony to mate and start new nests. Of all these groups of ants, the swarmers have the shortest average lifespan – most only live for a few days to a few weeks, either being killed when they fly out of the colony or when they fail to start a new nest. They are followed by the workers, which will live for up to a few months. Finally, you have the queen, which can live for many years.

The lifespan of an ant

There are several factors which will have an impact on the lifespan of the ant. Besides the caste, you also have the species, food quality and quantity, the location of the colony, and any predators that are in the area. For example, certain ant species will live longer, and if there is not enough food, or the food is low quality, older workers will be left to starve, which will lower the average lifespan of the ants in the colony.

How ant infestations are controlled

There are several ways to control an ant infestation, but all of them target the queen or queens of the colony, because they are responsible for reproduction. A pro will either use baits or insecticides to accomplish this goal, with baits being used when the colony is inaccessible, and insecticides being used to kill a colony quickly when it is out in the open. However, before implementing any of these methods, the pro will consult with you and explain the pros and cons of each approach.

If you would like to know more about the control methods that can be used against ants, or if you have an ant infestation that needs to be removed, contact us today.