As social insects, ants colonize. A queen establishes these colonies, although most queens who attempt it don't survive, which is why there are initially so many females. The queen is a mature female who is initially winged and can live up to 15 years. After she mates she sheds the wings leaving only the wing muscles, which are used as a source of nutrients for her body to feed on while a colony is being developed. The colony grows and is established by non-sexual worker ants.