Ant infestations are never fun, and in some situations, they can be dangerous or destructive. This is why they are often the target of pest control efforts, which are meant to completely eliminate them from an area. But what happens if you leave an ant colony alone? How long will it last? Let’s find out.
The lifespan of an ant
Different ant castes have different lifespans. Male ants are the shortest lived in the colony, followed by the workers, and with the queen being able to live the longest. The males will live for a few days at most, and they will die after mating with a female.
The lifespan of the workers will depend on a wide variety of factors. For example, the species can have a significant impact. Other factors include the location of the colony, how many predators there are in the area, the amount of protection that the workers have, and most interestingly, the amount and quality of the food that they have access to. As the food supply dwindles, the older workers eat less and less. The same goes for the quality of the food, with the older workers eating the lower quality food, while the younger workers eat the food that is of higher quality. The queen and larvae will have the highest quality food in the colony. With that being said, the average lifespan of a worker is a few months.
Finally, the queen can live for a very long time. Once again, the species will have an impact on the lifespan of a queen, with some queens living for up to 30 years, and a colony will exist as long as the queen is alive. Once the queen is dead, then the colony will die soon after.
How this impacts pest control
Knowing how long a colony exists and why it continues to exist influences that approach to controlling an ant infestation. To be more specific, by understanding that a colony will live as long as the queen is alive, the aim of any pest control effort is to kill the queen. Baits and direct application insecticides are designed with this purpose in mind. If you would like to know more information about how ant control efforts are implemented, or if you have an ant infestation that needs to be removed, contact us today and we can help you out.