How Long Do Ants Live in an Ant Farm and Why?

As you get so much attached to your ant colony, you may start to wonder how long can the adventure-inspired experience in maintaining them end? It may seem inevitable, but most creatures die like they normally do, whatever the circumstance is.

It is at this stage that you may start to wonder your dedication. Are there ways to make them live longer, or perhaps I want to shorten the lifespan of the ants out of the blue? Both questions can be answered, but only you can prepare yourself with the expectation that they cannot live alongside whenever you want them to.

In order to know the circumstances and other information, this article will provide you the insight with regards to the timespan, procedures, and different needed process.

Variables to Consider in the Lifespan

The lifetime of the ants solely depends on a few factors. These factors are:

Species

In terms of species, it depends on whether the type is monogynous or either polygynous or oligogynous. Specifically, if the species can only entertain one queen in their lifetime, their lives depends on how long the queen can last.

Moreover, there are some species which allow the workers to lay eggs as a defense mechanism once the queen is dead, but it would still end up for the wiping out of their colony in the long run.

Amount of Ants in the Colony

The amount varies since the longevity depends on the population. If they die one by one, the more population there are the longer though it would not last that much longer.

Food

The quality and type of food play a vital role in the longevity of their lives. Specifically, what you feed them can make a difference. Some ants cannot deal with solid foods directly, and so they extract fluid and chew to pass it to the larvae.

In order to promote the somewhat “extension” in their lives, do not feed them foods that are protein-rich in its characteristic, particularly those who do not have larvae. Some also need a lot of oils, which means that you should adjust the quality depending on their needs.

Location or Farm Conditions

This depends on the species chosen. Some cannot tolerate high humidity, while others need it crucially. In order to have a gist, know what kind of temperature benefits them the most. In average, they tend to live longer on cold temperature but is less active.

In addition, do not locate them in a place that has direct energy or sunlight.This may stress the tiny creatures. Instead, cover them with dark cloth or paper when left unattended. Night time is when they mostly construct their tunnels.

The Lifespan of Ants

The longevity of the ant lives is mostly based on their roles in the colony. In order to have a gist, these are as follows:

Ant Queens

The queen is in charge of the reproduction process, and so, most of the ant’s life in their colony depends on her. It depends on the species, but it can live at least 15 up to 30 years in its lifetime. Furthermore, it is classified to have the longest lifespan among all of the roles.

Ant Workers

These are the most common type of ant. They are the females that do not have the power to reproduce. Some species that allow them to lay eggs and produce males as a defense mechanism, but mostly it does not last for long, and the colony dies a few months later.

This type has the duty in terms of food, defending the nest and ensuring that their queen is safe. The lifespan can be up to a year. With this said, it has the second most extended lifespan in terms of the roles.

Regarding the specific work, the younger ones tend to be assigned with the much easier task while the older ones are responsible for the difficult tasks that may come in their way, no matter how dangerous it can be. In line with this, they are the ones who usually look and scavenge for food.

Ant Soldiers

In appearance, they are larger than ant workers but are smaller than the queen. Their job is to protect their queen and the overall colony. Some species do so by biting the intruder.

In addition, they help the workers in terms of tasks that include physical stamina. An example of it is carrying a large portion of food or object. Since their environment is mostly prone to hazards due to their role, they tend to live less than a year and has a shorter lifespan than the ant workers.

Drones

On rare occasions, male drones are captured to be stored in ant farms, but it does not last for long. They are the ones that mate with the queen. In terms of the egg, the fertilized ones turn into a worker or a queen, while the unfertilized ones result in males. Its lifespan after its mated can reach for only about two weeks.

In Ant Farms

Most people can only store workers in their ant farm kits, and in this case, they can only live for up to six months, and if you are lucky, then up to a year. It is because they cannot reproduce by themselves, and without new eggs to compensate the dead ones, their population will continue to decrease as time goes by.

In terms of cleaning up the dead ones, do not worry! For the living creatures tend to move them on top for it to prevent the risk of contamination within their colony.

Life Expectancy Based on Species

Apart from their habitat and roles, the kind of species also plays a vital role in terms of the longevity in their lifetime. Some are known to be short, while others are longer than expected.

In order to know some specific time expectancy on a given species, the list may give you an insight regarding some of the species and their lifespan.

Fire Ants

In terms of the life cycle stages, it is done and completed with at most seven weeks. Furthermore, the queen can live up to 7 years, which can be seconded by its colony.

Carpenter Ants

With this type, the life cycle is conducted within 6 to 12 weeks. Moreover, their queen has a long lifespan of 25 years specifically.

Meat Ants

This type is polygyne, which means that they can have more than one queen to sustain their reproduction. Due to this, a queen’s life is mostly 2 to 3 years on average. Meanwhile, their workers can reach up to 9 months.

Argentine Ants

The queen of this type tends to be smaller than any other kind. On top of that, they are known to take care of their brood, which allows the other workers to focus more on their colony. This type can expand tremendously, which is why it is dangerous not to address this once you have found them in your yard.

In terms of the queen’s lifespan, she can live for up to 7 years. She can also give birth to potential queens when she has reached the age of 2 years. On the other hand, their ant workers can live for 6 to 9 months as well.

Black Garden Ants

The queen for this type can live for 15 years. However, its ant workers live for 1 to 2 years, which is still longer than most species.

Pharaoh Ants

It is one of the species which contain a short-lived queen with its lifespan of 12 years. Even with this, their workers can live for up to 4 years, which breaks the record for the other species.

Tips to Let them Live Longer than Usual

Do you want to keep them for as long as you can? Then you can do so! This part is easy. It will depend unto how you will keep up with their demand in their lifetime. Want to find out how? Here are the lists of tips that you can consider.

  • If you want to let your farm live longer, consider having a queen. This will allow continuous reproduction and lengthens the colony’s survival time.
  • Prepare the ant farm first; then you obtain your ant. You should know the species before buying its storage.
  • Always ensure that the lid is tight to prevent them from escaping unexpectedly.
  • Do not shake nor move their farm, especially if the material is sand. This will cause casualties due to the erosion of many tunnels that they have worked hard to build.
  • The right temperature should be given. They tend to live long when it is cold for about 60 degrees Celsius.
  • Give them the right amount of food, for excess may lead to molds.
  • Give them the right amount of water, failure to do so may lead to drowning.
  • Cover the ant farm when you are not observing them. This promotes the creation of tunnels.

Step-By-Step Guideline: How to Kill a Queen Ant

Not everyone likes to prolong the ant life, especially for those who find the ant farm rather boring, or find a nearby ant colony disturbing. Either way, to prevent them from reproducing, what you need to kill is the root of reproduction, which is their queen. To find out how, here is the guideline:

1. Find and Know the Location of the Queen

The difficulty of identification depends on the specific species of ant. Typically, they are much larger than the workers though another clue is that they have wings, or remains due to them shedding.

Since they are born with wings, when they shed, you can still identify the location of them. They also have a larger middle body than their workers.

2. Find their Spot

The nest can be in your yard, wood, rock, or even in a random flooring. Its location depends on the species, which is why it is important to know the process of targeting.

3. Disrupt the Spot

Firstly, you should look for the queen in the surrounding area of her nest. This may be the case, especially after a summer rain. If she is not there, knock over her ant hill to urge her out. Keep in mind that it is not advisable to use for the specific type of ants that sting such as fire ants. If you see her, kill her.

4. Killing Methods

There are different methods in order to let your plan succeed. Specifically, you can try one over another when it does not work according to your liking such as:

Hot Water

It is the most natural way to kill the queen ant by flushing the entire colony. You can pour three gallons of hot water unto the hill, and it will surely kill all of the ants it may come in contact with, including the queen. Remember to not do this with stinging ants.

Cornstarch

It is also a natural method on the process of killing the queen ant. In order for it to be successful, place it around their hill. They will then treat it as food. Since it is basically poison for them, the ants swell up and die.

Keep in mind that it will take a long time for it to work. This means that the longevity of effect leads to efficiency.

Borax with Sugar Substance

In order to make the solution, mix the heated three parts of sweet syrup into 1 part borax. This ensures to kill ants. For larvae, use three parts sugar and 1 part borax to get a solid-like treat.

Then, place it along their trails. Since it is toxic, it is not advisable for direct soil contact, particularly of your own pet. It is the best to restrain them first indoors and find a flat surface to put your bait for the prevention of casualties.

Seek Professional Help

If you have tried everything but to no avail, call an exterminator. They may be expensive, which is why it is advised to try the remedy first before going unto your last resort.

5. Preventing the Ants from Appearing Again

The hill may occur again unexpectedly despite not wanting for it to happen. In order to repel the ants, use any of the procedure listed below:

Disrupt and Eliminate the Trail

Since they would most likely leave a scent on their path for the rest of the workers to follow them, wipe it using vinegar. It is because moping it does not always guarantee its elimination.

Store Sweet Things in Tight Containers, Seal the Water, and Clean the House

The ants always prefer sweet things, which is why it is important not to leave any crumbs or food lying around for them to not appear again. In addition, seal your favorite food for the ants do not come in your way.

In summer or hot occurrences, they are also attracted to water. It is best to cover any water openings to prevent them from entering the storage. Take your time during this process to ensure that they will not have any reason to come back.

Four Stages in the Life Cycle of Ants

Within their lifetime, they undergo through different stages. This is with regards to their growth and functionality that determines how effective the works in the colony is. In order to know how do ants evolve and grow, here is the process:

Eggs

The egg from the queen is the primary stage. It is oval in shape and is also at least 1mm long in size. It is usually released in batches and can hatch more than one at a time.

Larvae

The second stage is a worm-like figure without any legs or eyes in the making. How do they find food? Their adults feed them. During this time, they shed and shed one after another to increase their body size.

Pupa

As it reaches its desired size, so as the third stage. Within this time, the larva spins a cocoon around its body and pupates or evolve inside in the process. Specifically, it metamorphoses into the usual ant form for adults.

Adult

Once the cocoon stage is done, the fourth step is the emerging of it outside. This finally increases the amount of adult ant in population, particularly in an ant farm. Moreover, the overall cycle lasts for about 6 to 9 weeks.

Household Remedy: How to Kill Ants Outside

You may find the presence of ant hill agonizing, mainly if the ants typically seek your home for any munchable that they can find. Not all people are ant lovers, which is why if they mess around your daily work every time of the day, you may consider eliminating them using this procedure:

1. Use a Pesticide

In it, mic at least 25mL of pesticide per 1 gallon of water and cover the anthill with it. The procedure is not addressed for instant relief. Instead, it lets to be controlled and gone within one week. This can only be done per 6 months to not damage the actual soil.

2. Surround the House with Pesticide 

It should be done in order to prevent them from coming inside. Spray around the actual house, even on potential entrances such as doors and windows, pipe connections, and even wire boxes.

3. If There are Large in Quantity, Consider Spreading Granular Pesticide. 

The granular looks like food, but is actually poison. It will most likely be taken into their ant hill, and those who consume it will be killed just the way you want it. Spread it across your garden and lawn to kill many as much as possible.

Keep in mind that any pets or children should not be left unsupervised and is inside the house premises within an hour that it is applied. It is also important that the grass is cut in your garden for it to be on the ground as much as possible.

4. Use Ant Traps or Baits

When you see ants at your home, quickly place an ant trap. It will attract the ants and kill them as the toxin is ingested. On top of that, it is known to be not a quick remedy but it takes time. The bait can be useful for one month. It can be bought at your local garden store.

5. Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) If the Ant Hill is Surrounded by Your Favorite Plants

It is known to be plant friendly throughout the process. In order to function, sprinkle it in ant hills, trails, and even around your house. Use a mask while doing so not to inhale the substance.

6. Put and Apply Essential Oils into Any Entry

Doing so can kill the ants upon entry. It should be done every three days until the ants are completely eliminated. If you want a more direct approach, mix the 16 drops with half a cup of water and spray it directly to their ant nest.

Final Words: The Longevity of the Ant Farm Depends on You!

For ant enthusiasts or those who are fascinated with entomology, they tend to attempt for the ants to exceed their life whenever possible. However, can it be possible? The answer is that their lifespan depends on a lot of factors, and attempting to improve some may do the trick!

Even with this, do not be disheartened by those that do not prefer the little creatures at their homes or backyard as the ants tend to be like a vulgar that steal food at times!

In that sense, the ants can bring entertainment or a problem, depending on its impact on the beholder. Thus, enjoy your life as you prefer to be with them or not!

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