From black ants to red ants, queen ants are the superior species in the ant kingdom and are the masters of the ant colony. There’s much more to these marvellous creatures than meets the eye. Here are 5 fascinating facts about queen ants that you should know.
Fact #1: The Role of a Queen Ant
A queen ant’s primary role is to lay a colony’s eggs. The queen is the only ant with the ability to lay fertilized eggs that will develop into female ants – the workers.
Queen Ant Lifespan
The queen ant has an impressive lifespan. Depending on the species, she can live for up to 30 years, though several years are the general average. This means the queen of an ant colony could outlive several generations of worker ants and even some of the males.
The Queen’s Body
The queen ant has an incredible body compared to the worker ants. She’s larger and has wings. Her body is especially designed to carry out her egg-laying duties. And although she has wings, she rarely uses them and uses her own leg muscles to travel.
Fact #2: One Queen Per Colony
There is usually only one queen in an ant colony at a time. In some species, the queen is the only living ant in the colony, while others allow workers and males to coexist with the queen. But nevertheless, there can only be one queen in a colony at a time.
Queen Ants are Lazy
Queen ants are generally quite lazy. While their main duty is to lay eggs, most of their time is spent lounging around in the middle of the colony eating food and getting waited on.
Queen Ants are the Most Valuable
Queen ants are the most valuable ants in a colony. If the queen dies, the colony is doomed, because workers and males can’t lay eggs. This also means that many colonies will protect the queen ant from predators by encircling her until it’s safe.
Fact #3: Queen Ants Rely on Workers
Queen ants rely heavily on workers to keep the colony running. Not only do they take care of the queen, but they help to gather food, feed their fellow ants, and protect the colony from predators.
The Queen’s Egg-Laying Ability
The queen has an impressive egg-laying ability. She is able to lay more than 2000 eggs a day. This allows a colony to continue to grow and thrive even in the face of a challenging environment.
The Queen’s Offspring
The queen ant’s offspring are not just worker ants. Depending on the species, she may also lay eggs that will develop into males and even other queens, allowing the colony to spread out and establish new civilizations.
Fact #4: Queen Ants Struggle to Keep Their Throne
Queen ants have to fight constantly to keep their position as the queen of the colony. Other ants may attempt to usurp her position and take her place.
The Queen is Not Invincible
Though queen ants have impressive lifespans, they are still mortal. The queen may be replaced by a new generation of queens or be killed by predators or her own species.
In rare cases, two or more queens may exist in the same colony. This is called a “supermajor” and the workers have to decide which queen to follow and serve.
Fact #5: Queen Ants Leave the Nest
Although queen ants rarely leave the colony, they do sometimes venture out in search of food, mates, and new colonies to establish.
The Swarming Process
Queen ants sometimes join the swarming process when male ants and newly developed queens gather together. During this time, they travel around in search of a suitable place to start a new colony.
The queen ant also engages in a mating flight. During this process, she’ll fly away from the colony in search of male ants to mate with and establish a new colony.
Queen ants are fascinating creatures that rule the ant colony with an iron fist. Their impressive lifespans, incredible egg-laying ability, and willingness to leave the colony in search of mates or new colonies make them truly remarkable creatures. By understanding the role of the queen ant, we can appreciate the complex and important part she plays in an ant colony.
People Also Ask
How many eggs does a queen ant lay?
A queen ant can lay up to 2000 eggs a day.
How long do queen ants live?
The lifespan of a queen ant varies depending on the species, but they can generally live up to 30 years.
Do queen ants leave the colony?
Queen ants rarely leave the colony, but they sometimes fly away in search of mates or new colonies.
Are queen ants fertile?
Yes, queen ants are fertile and they are the only ant in the colony with the ability to lay viable eggs.
Do queen ants have wings?
Yes, queen ants have wings that help them travel within the colony and in search of mates or new colonies.