You have probably heard of queen bees before, but have you ever heard about queen ants? Bees and ants are fairly closely related, and a queen ant performs essentially the same role in her colony as a queen bee performs in hers. All ants in a colony have specific roles to play, but the queen ant has arguably the most important role because, without her, the colony cannot keep up its population. In this blog, we explain 6 interesting things you may not know about the queen ant and how Truly Nolen can assist with effective carpenter ant removal in Markham.
1. What Do Queen Ants Look Like?
Ant species come in many different sizes, but whatever the size of the ant species, the queen ant will be proportionately larger than the others in her colony. The thorax, which is the middle section of the ant’s body, is larger and more pronounced in the queen than in other members of her colony. When a queen ant matures, she has wings. Depending on the species, she may retain her wings throughout her life, or she may lose them after she has mated.
2. What Is the Queen Ant’s Role in the Colony?
The queen ant’s role is to establish the colony and keep repopulating it by laying eggs. Ants can lay either unfertilized or fertilized eggs. Unfertilized eggs mature into male ants, called drones, whose job is to mate with the queen so she can lay fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs then grow into female ants. These ants don’t have the ability to reproduce and become workers that take on jobs such as building and repairing the nest, finding food, or defending the nest against possible threats.
Some worker ants have the job of taking care of the queen, e.g., feeding her and keeping her clean. The queen understands instinctively that she is the most important member of the ant colony, and if her life is threatened, she will act in the interest of her own survival, even if the rest of the colony dies as a result.
3. Where Do Queen Ants Come From?
Once an ant colony becomes well established, a generation of winged ants — both male and female — hatches from the eggs. Collectively, these ants are called swarmers. Female swarmers are potential queens. Each has the ability to find an entirely new colony and become its queen, for which reason they are sometimes called princesses. Male and female swarmers fly away from the colony and mate in the air. Male swarmers die off soon after, while females look for a place to start making a new nest. They don’t always survive, but if they succeed in making a new nest, they become its queen.
4. How Long Does a Queen Ant Live?
Queen ants live a lot longer than the other members of their colony. Depending on the species, this can be at least 10 years or up to 30.
5. Can an Ant Colony Have More Than One Queen?
Some ant species have colonies with more than one queen. The multiple queens each lay eggs to keep up the colony’s population numbers, though a queen who is less fertile may get killed by the worker ants. Other colonies only have one queen.
6. What Happens if the Queen Ant Dies?
The effects of the death of a queen ant depend on the species. If the species is one in which multiple queens are common, the colony is likely to accept one of the others. Sometimes a worker ant gets promoted to queen. If there is more than one queen, they may fight to the death for the position. In other cases, the death of the queen means the gradual end of the colony as no more eggs are produced.
Why Is Carpenter Ant Removal in Markham Important?
A carpenter ant queen can live approximately 25 years and lay thousands of eggs during her lifetime. Carpenter ants can cause extensive property damage by tunnelling out wood for their nests. Learn more about carpenter ant removal and other residential pest control services.