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How long do ants live?

It seems to happen every spring. You head down to your kitchen and find the counters or the floor filled with tiny crawling insects. You've got ants again. There they are, creating the telltale trail from some seemingly unknown spot in the wall or down a drain. The scouts must have come, found food, and left a trail as they brought it back to the nest. Now the entire nest seems to be in the place you prepare food.

Ants come and go every year, but are those the same ants as last year? How long do ants live? Western Exterminator specialists are trained in spotting the various species of ants and know how they behave. We'll take a look at the ant life cycle and how long these insects live

Western Exterminator professional ant control specialists know how to find where those pesky ants are coming in. Our approach is to find where the pests, like these returning ants, come from and offer solutions to prevent them from returning. Our specialists can get rid of the current ant infestation and prevent future ones. This is why if you find you get ants regularly you should call your local Western Exterminator office.

What is the ant life cycle?

Black ants with their queen

Most species of ant are considered social, meaning they live in colonies. There are specific jobs each member of the colony has to do when they reach adulthood. Each ant goes through several different stages and it all starts with an egg:

  • Eggs - the queen ant at the center of the colony lays many eggs over the course of a lifetime and can create a large colony in weeks. Fertilized eggs become female ants, which can become new queens. Unfertilized eggs become males.

  • Larva - once the eggs hatch, the baby ants are known as larvae. The larval stage for ants creates tiny worm-like creatures. These babies eat constantly and they rely on the adult worker ants who distribute the food to the rest of the colony.

  • Pupal stage - most species of ant do not fold into cocoons like butterflies or moths. A few species do have cocoon-like structures. Their pupal stage looks a lot like adults, but their wings and their antenna are folded against their bodies. The pupal ants don't do much during this time, just rest and grow.

  • Adult - these are the ants you see in your kitchen. New queens eventually spread their wings and fly away with some males who also have wings. Once they find a spot they feel is suitable for a new colony, they shed those wings and start creating the next colony.

Lifespan of ants

Carpenter ant

The question about the length of the ant lifespan still remains. We have to factor in the living conditions and ignore ants that are being treated by pest control professionals. It also depends on the species of ant and whether or not the ant is a queen, soldier or worker.

For the male workers and soldiers, their lifespan is very short. Males tend to live about a week. Once they mate with a female, they die pretty quickly afterward. Some soldiers can live for a few months.

Queens, on the other hand, can live for decades. Provided they are in a colony which is not disturbed or invaded by some other predatory insect, they can last for a while, creating more and more ants and more and more colonies.

Why are ants in your house?

Ants eating cake

Ants have a lot of mouths to feed. Unlike termites, ants are known to rest for short periods of time, but there are always other ants in the colony which are active and looking for food. Thus, ants get into your home through tiny cracks and gaps when they are looking for food. If they find a food source, the scouts will bring the food back to the nest and leave an invisible chemical trail behind them. The rest of the workers follow.

This is why Western Exterminator's method of finding the sources for ant invasions is so important when it comes to effective ant control. Sealing up cracks and using ant baits which can eliminate an entire colony is crucial to ant control and prevention.

Western Exterminator ant control specialists

Ant trap

Western Exterminator ant control and prevention specialists know the different species of ant, the types of colonies they create and the places where ants are more likely to get inside. It can be hard to trace the trail back to the spot where the ants are getting in, but Western's experts are ready to follow the trail as far as it goes.

Stop the ants from marching and invading. Contact your local Western Exterminator office and schedule a property inspection and discuss our ant control and prevention methods.

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