Red Ant Image

Overview of the Life Cycle of Ants

Though young ants will go on to fill different social roles in their colonies, they are all subject to the same developmental process.

Eggs & Larvae
The pests begin as tiny, oval eggs. Most of these eggs then morph into larvae, which are white, legless, and eyeless worm-like grubs.

Adult ants must provide a consistent supply of nutrition to the developing larvae in order to bring about the molting process.

Pupation
After their last molt, larvae begin to pupate. This stage involves a considerable amount of resting.

While pupae resemble adult ants, their legs and antennae are bent against their bodies for the duration of this stage.

Adulthood
In the final phase of the ant life cycle, pupae reach adulthood. Their color darkens with age and they may grow wings.

Average Lifespan of Ants

Depending on the species and surrounding environment, ants may take anywhere from several weeks to a couple months to complete their life cycle.

Among the castes, queens, workers, and males have varying lifespans.

  • Queens & Males:¬†Queens have the potential to live decades given ideal conditions, while males’ only role is to mate with the queen. Once they’ve filled that role, they die.
  • Workers: Worker ants can live up to a year or two.

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