How Long Do Ants Live?

Ants have always been around since the beginning of time. Some properties are plagued with ants year after year, after year, which is why some people may often wonder how long do these little creatures live.  This article provides basic information on the lifespan of three of the more common types of ant: the Garden Ants, the Carpenter Ants, and the Fire Ants. You may be surprised at just how long they live for, particularly the Queens.

How Long Do Garden Ants Live For?

The black garden ants (Lasius niger) are the most common type of ants found in gardens and other urban areas across Europe and in some parts of Asia and North America.  This type of ant is best known for their nuptial flight, which happens once a year.  This is when flying princesses and males take flight and mate.  Also known as the pavement ant, these ants build their nests almost anywhere; under rocks, along the lawns, and even under pavements.

The most familiar type of garden ants seen is the small ones that move fast and actively.  These are the workers.  Among their main tasks are to forage, clean, and feed the larvae.  All worker ants are female and live for a few months.  Typically, colonies have about 5,000 worker ants but can have as many as 15,000.  Each colony has one queen, which has been known to live for up to 29 years (source).  The lifespan of Worker ants, on the other hand, stretches  from a couple of months and up to a year, depending on the available food source.


Did you know?

If a Garden Ant queen lived for 29 years, that equates to over 10,000 egg-laying days!

What Is The Lifespan of Carpenter Ants?

Compared to other ant species, carpenter ants (Camponotus) are larger in size, ranging from 3.4 mm to 13 mm in length.  They are mostly black in color, but there are some species that are yellowish or reddish. The life cycle for a carpenter ant is estimated to be about 6-12 weeks.  They are known as carpenters due to the fact that they like establishing their colonies decaying, hollow, or moist wood.  Although this is the case, they do not eat wood like termites do.  Instead, they gnaw and remove the wood and create small piles of debris outside their nests.

It is interesting to note that there are two types of colonies built by carpenter ants: the parent colonies, and the satellite colonies.  It is in the parent colonies where a queen is found along with her workers and brood.  On the other hand, satellite colonies are where worker ants go when the parent colony lacks sufficient space to accommodate them.  There might be several satellite colonies associated with one parent colony.  Each of these colonies can hold up to 10,000 ants.

How Long Do Fire Ants Live For?

Although a fire ant resembles an ordinary ant, the pain that comes with its sting earned it its name.  It is aggressive and oftentimes causes allergic reactions to people who have been stung.  The red imported variety is the most common, but there are also black ones in some areas in the US.  Its diet can range anywhere from insects to animal carcasses.  The higher the fat content, the better.

Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are very social, and are to be seen living in large colonies that can contain 10,000 to more than 200,000 with most of the ants female, infertile workers.  Usually, there is only one queen for every colony which, when well-fed, can lay up to 1.500 eggs a day.  When the colony rapidly grows in number, additional queens will be sent to nearby areas to begin new mounds of their own.  Worker ants are known to live for five weeks, while the queen can live for up to seven years.

Although the facts stated above share wonderful information regarding ants, they are often not considered as welcome house guests in the home.  If you find a line of ants in your home, no matter what type of ant it is, it is often wise to start doing precautionary measures.

Learn about a Natural Ant Killer here.

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