Every ant colony has a queen or more, and these queens are the beating heart of every ant nest. Without them, the species would not be able to reproduce. As such, they are protected and well taken care of by the rest of the members of the colony.
The appearance of the queen ant
The sole purpose of an ant queen is to lay eggs, and the rest of the colony exists to help it in this endeavor for the most part. Most of the ants you will see outside of the colony are female worker ants, but you may also come across male drones that mate with the queen or with winged females when they are trying to create a new nest and become queens themselves.
The queen however is quite unique in appearance. It will differ from species to species, but it typically has a large midsection or thorax, and it may have wings as well. The thorax is so large in fact, that it usually accounts for half of the queen’s size. Their head is also quite big, reaching widths equal to that of their large bodies.
The queen will be the biggest ant in the nest, and its size will once again depend on the species, both in absolute and relative terms. For example, the queen of a leaf-cutter ant colony will be significantly larger than other members, while the queen of a fire ant or carpenter ant colony will be only slightly larger, since the workers tend to be larger than those of other species.
Finding the ant queen
Sometimes it’s hard to tell a queen apart by appearance alone. Instead, you will have to rely on its behavior and that of its nest mates. Queens will always be treated differently than other ants, receiving a great deal of attention. They will be fed, cleaned, and groomed, and the workers will generally climb on the queen and swarm around it if it is out in the open. The queen will also be located at the center of the nest. If the species has soldier ants, they will also be nearby.
Getting rid of the queen is essential if you want to destroy an ant colony. You can kill as many workers as you get your hands on, but the queen will just keep birthing new ones. Generally however, it’s very difficult to dig for and find the queen in order to kill it. Your best option is to use insecticides or poisonous baits. You can also call over a professional to help you out. Contact us today if you have issues with ant infestations.