If you’ve ever had a problem with ants in or around your home, you probably know how important it is to understand how ant colonies work. Ant colonies are highly integrated networks of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of ants; and they all work on a class system, with each ant having its own specific duties and jobs. And of course, if you want to get rid of an ant problem, you’re going to need to get to the highest ant of all – the queen ant. But is there only one queen ant, and what is the queen’s job? And what do all those other ants do? All of these questions need to be answered before you set out to conquer an ant colony.
First, it’s most important to understand about queen ant. Many people think that the queen ant rules the colony, but that’s not actually true. However, the queen is the most important member of the colony and colonies could not exist without them. This is because the queen’s only job is to reproduce by laying eggs and in most species of ants, it’s only the queen that can do this. Without the queen, the colony will most likely die out because there will be no more ants to replace other ants, and take over the important functions of the colony.
When you’re dealing with an ant problem in your home, it’s true that if you get rid of the queen, you get rid of the problem. It’s also important to know that while many think that one queen exists in each colony, this is not always the case. Sometimes colonies can have multiple queens and some, such as the European wood ant, may have hundreds of queens. Queen ants also live the longest, usually about ten to twenty years.
Other than the queen, the other most important members of ant colonies are the worker ants. Worker ants are most likely the ants that you see scurrying around and carrying little bits of food on their back. Worker ants have many different responsibilities, and they work incredibly hard. Worker ants hurry around finding food, taking care of the queen by sheltering and feeding her, taking care of the young in the colony, also by feeding them, building chambers and walls within the nest, and taking care of nearly everything else that the colony needs.
In most ant species, worker ants are always female, though they rarely develop into queen ants. Very large worker ants are sometimes called soldier ants because they defend the nest and fight off enemies. Worker ants don’t live very long, usually only one to five years.
The last class of ants in a colony are the male ants. Male ants live the shortest time, and it’s not very long at all. Male ants don’t work, and they only have one purpose – to fertilize the queen’s eggs. However, the male ant is still very important to the colony because without them, the colony would die out. As soon as mating season is over, the male ants will die out, with more being reproduced for the next mating season.
Ant colonies work on a very basic system of classes, with each class having its own specific job and function. Without one of those classes, the ant colony will die out. And when you’re trying to get rid of an ant colony in or around your home, knowing how to get rid of the most important class – the queen – is the most effective step.
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