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The life of an ant revolves around the well-being of the colony. From the moment they are born, ants work to ensure that the colony survives and thrives. This is true for all castes, from the lowly worker to the queen.

Swarmers

All ant queens start as swarmers. Swarmers are winged ants that can occasionally be seen flying around outdoors. These ants fly in large numbers to mate and start nests of their own. Most of the swarmers will die, and the few that do manage to make an initial nest will fail to grow it.

The colony

Despite the odds being against new colonies, once the first batch of workers is spawned, the chances of the colony surviving increase dramatically. These first few workers will take care of all the tasks that were previously handled by the queen. From foraging to taking care of the brood and expanding the colony, all tasks will be delegated to the workers, leaving the queen to focus solely on reproduction.

From this point forward, the chances of the colony not reaching full maturity are low. Full maturity for an ant colony means that it is capable of spawning its own swarmers that set out to make their own colonies.

The death of the colony

Unless there is an accident, natural event, or predator that attacks the colony, the colony will continue to survive until the queen dies. This can take many years, with queens of certain species able to live for decades. There are also ant species that create colonies with multiple queens, so if one dies, it is replaced.

This gives us an indication of what the main goal is for any control effort – to kill the queen. Once the queen dies, the colony can no longer create new members, and the workers will act erratically without the queen’s pheromones. Given this information, two main control options are available – the bait and the direct application insecticide.

The go to option is the direct application insecticide because it can destroy a colony within minutes. However, some colonies are hard to reach and the insecticide cannot be used effectively. In this situation, a pro will use baits, which draw out the workers of the colony. The workers will collect the bait, share it around, and eventually, the bait reaches the queen and kills it.

For more information on how ant colonies survive and die, or if you have an ant infestation in your home, contact us today.