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Understanding The Ant Life Cycle And How It Relates To Pest Control

Ants are notorious household pests because they are found everywhere and are difficult to get rid of. What starts as a few stray ants in your home can quickly become a continual stream. The ants that you see likely represent just a small fraction of the total number adult ants, pupa, larva, and eggs that make up the colony. Effective ant control must target the whole colony and all life stages.


Ant Development

Life Cycle of Ants

Ants develop through a process called complete metamorphosis. This means that the insects pass through four distinct stages, and the larva does not resemble the adult. The four stages include the following: Egg: Ant eggs are very small, approximately 1 mm. They are oval in shape and soft and sticky in texture. All the ants in the colony are offspring of the queen. Many ant colonies only have one queen, but some species have multiple queens. If an ant egg is fertilized, it will produce a female that will become a worker or future reproductive. Unfertilized eggs will become male ants. Larva: The eggs will slowly develop into larvae. Larvae are transparent with no eyes or legs. They are long and worm-like in appearance. Worker ants feed the larvae regurgitated food and care for them. Pupa: The third stage of ant development is the pupa. Some species of ants spin a cocoon to pupate, while others remain in the open. They are situated in a fetal position with legs and antennae that are folded into the body. During this stage, they will begin to look like adult ants, but will be whitish in color. Pupae still rely on workers for all of their food and care. Slowly the pupae will darken as they become adults. Adult: Adult ants have various jobs that they do for the colony. The queen is responsible for egg laying. A queen ant may live 15+ years. The vast majority of ants will become worker ants that help gather food, take care of the brood, protect the colony, build the nest, and clean. Workers can live for 1-3 years. Male ants have the sole job of mating with a queen to fertilize eggs. They have wings so that they can take part in the nuptial mating flight. Male ants typically only live for a few weeks.

Ant Control

An ant colony is much larger than the worker ants that you typically see. Killing only the ants you see will simply result in new ants following the pheromone trails left behind in your home. Instead, you must find a way to kill the queen ant and the eggs, larva, and pupa that reside in the ant nest. Luckily, this can be done through the use of baits. Ants feed each other through a process of regurgitation called trophallaxis. If worker ants take poisoned bait back to the nest and feed it to the queen and all the larva and pupa, it will work its way through the nest and result in extermination of the colony. PF Harris sellsBorax Liquid Ant Killer with Bait Stations to help you take care of all the ants around your home. This liquid bait works slowly so that the worker ants have time to make it back to the nest and share the bait before dying. Quickly and easily get rid of pests around your home with the help of some great HarrisDo It Yourself home pest control products.