An ant colony is a home for ants that is usually underground and made up of several chambers connected by tunnels. They are built by the ants themselves; more specifically, the worker ants, who dig the tunnels and rooms, and then, carrying the tiny bits of dirt in their mandibles, they deposit the dirt on the surface, sometimes forming an anthill in the process.
The way an ant colony operates revolves around the function of the chambers, or rooms. Each room has a purpose: there are nurseries, rooms for storing food and even rooms specifically for mating.
An ant colony begins when a queen mates with one or several males. She then creates a nest and raises her first brood, which consists of worker ants. Worker ants are wingless females. Only the queen has wings, which she uses to fly to find a mate. Once she mates, the wings are useless and she uses the tissue to feed her first brood.
As soon as they are old enough, the new worker ants start working. They enlarge the queen's nest, care for her next brood and bring her food. The queen's only job now is to lay more eggs. Once she lays the eggs, the workers carry them to the nursery area, where they care for the eggs and feed the larvae after they hatch. As more workers are born, they split off into castes: some, the biggest, work all day and all night enlarging the colony. Others bring food to the queen and take care of the larvae.
The Reproductive Stage
Eventually, the colony will become large enough that the queen will produce queens and males to mate with them. These new queens will be cared for carefully by the workers until they fly away to establish their own colonies or take over for the current colony's queen. This is called the Reproductive Stage of an ant colony.
Sizes of colonies vary widely depending on species. Some are huge and interconnected, as the super colony found along the east coast of Hokkaidō, Japan. This super colony is thought to contain over 300 million ants. Other ant colonies only contain a few ants; less than fifty.
- Photo Credit testy.blogspot.com
What Do Queen Ants Look Like?
The queen ant is one of, if not the most, important ant in a colony. Without the queen, the colony will die...
What Do Underground Ant Nests Look Like?
Ants are everywhere and range in size and temperament. The ants in your backyard, or deep in the Amazon rain forest, build...
What Happens When a Queen Ant Dies?
Ant colonies may have thousands of swarming little insects, but one of them matters the most. She is the queen. When the...
How to Kill a Colony of Ants
Boiling water, boric acid baits and insecticides containing Spinosad are some natural or low-toxicity methods for controlling an ant colony.
How to Destroy Ant Colonies Naturally
Ants are fascinating creatures. They live in colonies that resemble human cities, and each ant has a specialized job to care for...
How to Destroy Ant Colonies in Trees
If you've noticed black ants in or around your house, there is a good chance they are carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are...
How Long Does Terro Ant Bait Take to Kill Ants?
Terro Liquid Ant Bait is a sweet liquid containing sodium tetraborate decahydrate, better known as borax. The bait kills individual ants within...
What Causes Swarming Ants?
Swarms of ants are often observed by entomologists and laymen alike, particularly in the north central United States, where ants are most...