Guelph Pest Removal: Can Ants Live Without A Queen?

Guelph Pest Removal Can Ants Live Without A Queen

There are several species of ants in Canada that can infest human homes. They can cause problems requiring ant removal services in Guelph to resolve. Though they can be a nuisance, ants are fascinating creatures with remarkable abilities. They live in large colonies in which each individual ant has a role to play. One of the most important roles is that of the queen.

What Does the Queen Ant Do?

In an ant colony, there are three different roles:

  • Worker ants are females that take care of finding food and building the nest.
  • Drones are male ants that have very short lifespans; their job is limited to reproduction.
  • The queen is a female ant whose job is to lay eggs to keep the colony populated.

Most ants in the colony are workers. Drones are fairly numerous but lead short lives of about a week. In each colony, there is only one queen, and without a queen to lay eggs and produce more offspring, there wouldn’t be a colony at all. Even though the worker ants are female, they don’t lay eggs.

How Long Does the Queen Live?

Queen ants can live for decades, during which time they produce millions of eggs to keep their respective colonies populated. Ant eggs do not actually have to be fertilized to develop and produce offspring. Male ants only have one set of chromosomes, while female ants have two. The queen places half of her genetic material in each egg that she lays, and if it isn’t fertilized, it will develop into a male ant with only one set of chromosomes. If a drone fertilizes the egg, it will have two sets of chromosomes and grow up to be a female worker.

What Happens to the Colony if the Queen Dies?

If a queen ant dies, for a while the colony can carry on as it did before. The drones won’t have anything to fertilize because there are no new eggs. Drones have shorter lifespans than workers, so after about a week, they will all be gone. The workers will continue to carry on as they had before until they reach the ends of their lifespans. Without a queen, there are no new offspring to replace the aging and dying ants, so within approximately a year of the queen’s death, the colony will no longer exist.

Are There Ways That a Queen Can Be Replaced?

Depending on the species, there are ways that a new queen may replace an old one and take on the responsibilities of repopulating the colony. When the queen of an Indian jumping ant colony dies, it triggers hormonal changes in some of the workers so that they start growing bigger and stronger. They fight one another, and the one who wins becomes the new queen. The surviving runners-up go back to their previous role as workers.

For most ant species, when the colony gets too big, a new generation of potential queens is produced. The new queens have wings, allowing them to fly away, mate, and start laying eggs elsewhere, which is how most colonies begin in the first place. Sometimes, instead of flying away, a new queen will stay with the colony. However, she doesn’t wait for the existing queen to die before taking her place. There can only be one queen at a time, so the new queen may fight with the old one. If she wins, she takes the place of the old queen.

Truly Nolen Provides Ant Removal Services in Guelph

There are several ant species that can infest your home. Carpenter ants may be the most destructive because of the property damage they can cause by building nests in wood. Contact Truly Nolen to schedule an inspection.