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Online Pest Library - Ants

Ants Ants are a very social insect and usually live in organized colonies. Within these colonies the ants are divided into workers, queens, and males. The worker ants are always female and are without wings. As their title implies, the worker ants perform most of the work in the colony which includes foraging for food, caring for eggs and pupae, and building or expanding the nest.

Queen ants are generally the largest insects in the colony, and are responsible for laying eggs. Male ants, or reproductive's, only serve to inseminate the queens and usually die within 2 weeks of insemination. If the queen ants of the species are winged, the males are winged also.

Although there are 700 different species of ants in Australia, only 25 of these species will actually infest a home.

Identifying an Ant
Ants have a very elaborate body structure, with three distinct regions (head, thorax, and abdomen). Attached to the head are 2 antennae, often featuring an elbow-like joint. In terms of size, ants range from less than 1/16 of an inch to over an inch in length, depending on the species.

Ant's Life Cycle
An ant's life cycle is classified as a complete metamorphosis, meaning the ant has 4 stages which include egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Queen ants are responsible for laying eggs and require fertilization only once in their lifetime, after which they can continue laying eggs until death. If the queen is of a winged species, she will often chew them off after being inseminated. In most cases an inseminated queen will also leave her current colony to found another.

The species of ants that infest homes can be divided into two groups: those that nest in walls and those that nest in the ground.

Most species of ants tend to tail in a line along edges, such as baseboards in houses and foundation edges on the exterior.

Worker ants are responsible for gathering food for the colony, and are coaxed into regurgitating that food in liquid form when another ant strokes it with their antennae.