Most ants live rough lives. They spend their days toiling – building the colony, gathering food, and taking care of the young. Not only that, but their lives can be very short.
The factors that influence the lifespan of an ant
There are several factors that will determine how long the average ant gets to live. These factors include the species, the caste, the location, the presence of predators, the quality and availability of food, and access to shelter.
Caste plays a big part here, with most workers living for a few days to a few months, while the queen gets to live for several years. The males of the species are also on the short end of the stick, with most surviving for only a few days, before mating and dying.
The species to which an ant belongs will play a very big role as well. For example, an odorous house ant worker can live for up to three years, while a fire ant worker can live for about five weeks.
When it comes to food availability and quality, workers will have to sacrifice themselves in cases when quality food becomes scarce. The highest quality food will first go to the queen and the brood, and if there is a shortage of food, the older workers will starve to death. The scarcer the food becomes, the more workers will have to die, greatly lowering the average lifespan of the colony.
The role of pest control
Pest control efforts will of course have an impact as well. However, the main goal of any pest control initiative will not be to kill off workers which are highly disposable. Let’s not forget that a colony starts with one member – the queen, and then grows from there to have thousands of members. So a colony could lose almost all of its workers and still survive as long as there are a handful that can feed the queen.
As such the aim of any successful pest control effort is the killing of the queen. For this purpose, both insecticides and baits can be used, and the pest control process is not complete until all of the queens in a colony are dead, and the reproductive capacity of the nest is destroyed. If you would like to know more about how ant infestations are controlled, or if you are currently dealing with an ant infestation, contact us today.