The ant queen is essential to the survival of the colony. It is the only member that can breed, and the entire colony is her brood. In fact, the ant queen only plays two main roles. It’s first task, when it is still a young swarmer, is to set out with the rest of her caste, male and female, find a mate, and then start a new colony. The queen will dig the initial nest and start laying eggs, and it will be the sole member taking care of the young. However, once the eggs hatch and the young ants have matured, they will start to take care of everything, from foraging, to building and taking care of the queen. From there, the queen enters her second role, which is purely reproductive.
How the queen ant is different from other ants
Given that the queen has a unique role in the colony, it is also physiologically different from other ants. First, it is much larger. It also has its own pheromones, which help the rest of the colony know where she is. Once those pheromones can no longer be detected, the ants assume that the queen has died, and from there the colony never recovers.
Different ant species will have different structures. Some will have one queen per colony, and the colony will live and die with it. In others, there are several queens, and these colonies can expand very fast. Others still will have workers that are capable of reproducing.
How is an ant queen created?
As a colony grows, it will reach a point where it is no longer focused on expanding itself, but on reproducing itself. In order to do this, the queen will start birthing swarmers, which are winged male and female ants that will set out during the reproductive seasons. The swarmers will mate and then start new nests, which will eventually expand into new colonies.
If you notice swarmers on your property, it means that there is a colony nearby, and it is one of the signs that you have an ant infestation. Most ant species are simply bothersome, but others can damage the home, leave bad odors, or deliver painful stings and bites that can land you in the hospital if you are allergic. For any ant issues, you can get in touch with us and we will send someone over. Contact us today for an ant control appointment.