Young queen ants commonly come out of their nests in July or August to participate in a mating ritual with other male ants when they are ready to start a colony of their own.
The mating ritual, in which the queen ant participates once it reaches maturity is known as nuptial flights.
Throughout the years, ant lovers have managed to deduce a pattern that further allows ant enthusiasts to predict the schedule, various ant varieties follow, to carry out their nuptial flight activities depending on the country they are located in.
Does the Queen Ant Leave the Nest?
Mature queen ants rarely leave their nests once they have already settled down and have started laying eggs.
Young queen members of the colony will go out for participating in nuptial flights to start a new colony of their own. Under extreme circumstances, during quick evacuation or only other danger, you may find them moving from one place to another.
But even then it is very tough and rare to locate queen ants outside their nests naturally, once they have established their colony.
Related Article: How Many Ants Die a Day?
What Time of Year can you Find Queen Ants?
You can locate young queen ants outside of their nest various times a year, but in the northern hemisphere queen ants are easiest to find during July or August when they are making their nuptial flights.
You will be much more likely to locate queen ants outside of their nests when they have left their parental nests to participate in mating rituals with other male ants.
Young queens of the ant colony generally leave the nest to participate in nuptial flights, particularly in hot and humid weather conditions.
Nuptial flights usually occur soon after days of heavy rainfall when there is not a strong wind outside and there is high humidity.
Related Article: Why are Ants Spicy?
Why does the Queen Ant Come Out?
Young queen ants leave their parental ant colony when they reach maturity and fly, out into the outside world to engage in nuptial flight with other male ant members of the same ant species. This usually happens in high summer, during periods of high humidity.
This is a very important moment in the lifecycle of a queen ant because it will only engage in this mating ritual once in its life, after that it will shed off its wings and use the sperm reserve to start laying eggs and start its colony.
The queen ants once it starts their colony, do not come out in the open unless the nest is under serious trouble.
Mature queen ants are the sole member of the ant colonies that can lay eggs, hence it is very important for the survival of the whole colony, that the queen ant survives.
Read Also: Queen Ant Size: How Big is a Queen Ant?
How to tell when an Ant is a Queen?
Queen ants are usually easy to recognize as they are much larger than other ants of the same species, have prominent wings, and an enlarged thorax compared to other ants.
Queen ants are noticeably larger than other ants of the same variety.
Mature queen ants who have already mated and shed off their wings rarely get into the outside world again.
You may encounter queen ants that have shed off their wings after participating in nuptial flights and are currently preparing to start their colony. In such instances, if you can closely notice you can still find the wing attachment points being there.
The male ants also contain wings but the wings are not as prominent as in the queen ants. Also, their overall size will be shorter than the queen ants.
- Queen ants generally have a bulkier and muscular thorax than other ants. The thorax is the adjacent region between the neck and the abdomen.
Related Article: Can Magnifying Glasses Burn Ants?
What Time of Day is Best to Find Queen Ants?
Ants perform their nuptial flights at all hours of the day, from dawn till dusk. Ants like to perform their nuptial flights after a heavy rainstorm, so waiting until the rain stops on a warm day will give you the best chance.
This scene of witnessing loads of ants taking part in nuptial flights is much more prominent in the countryside or the suburbs. On such days, you can locate young queen ants out in the open anywhere from the early morning to dusk.
If you want to capture queen ants then always carry vials or test tubes with you because you have no way of predicting when or where you will find them.
If you find multiple queen ants, make sure not to keep them together as they may end up fighting and killing one another.
How to Lure a Queen Ant Out of its Nest
The only way to lure out the queen ant out of its nest is by forcing the entire colony to move. This is not recommended, but you the easiest way is by flooding the nest until the ants move out and look for a new location.
- Locate an ant nest or ant mound.
- Use a shovel to dig deep as ant nests are known to be several feet deep into the soil.
- Dig a foot or two and then flood the nest with water. Keep the water flow constant. Using a garden hose will be highly suitable for this purpose.
- Cut off the water supply and initially, you will find the worker ants coming out in numbers carrying the larvae and eggs. Later on, if you wait long enough, you may find the queen ant coming out of the chamber.
In case the colony is newly formed, it won’t be too deep and your chances of finding the queen easily will be higher.
However, the best way to catch a queen ant is during the time of nuptial flight as the probability of finding success in that is much higher than by this process.
How many Queen Ants are in a Colony?
For most ant species, each ant colony has only one active queen ant laying eggs and essentially it is solely responsible for giving birth and in maintaining the population of the whole colony.
The younger queen members when they reach maturity fly out of their colony to start a colony of their own. However, there are often many exceptions to that.
For example, certain ant species (for example the army ants) prefer having multiple female breeding members in the same colony.
On rare occasions, the young queen ant can replace the older queen ant of the colony as well.
Read More: How are Queen Ants Born?
Can Queen Ants Bite?
Queen ants can bite, but they are not as aggressive as soldier ants. The bite from a queen ant is the same as a bite from a regular ant, so how serious it is depends on the ant species.
In most instances, ant bites are pretty harmless unless you’re allergic to insect bites.
If you’re worried about an ant bite or you find the symptoms worsening over time you should immediately visit the hospital to rule out any infection or allergic reaction.
It’s extremely rare to be bitten by a queen ant as it only gets out in the world properly for one day in its life. It then spends the rest of its life hidden away into the nest.
Queen ants have strong mandibles like other flying ants, so it’s possible for them to bite, just highly unlikely since they spend their lives in the nest.
What Happens When the Queen Ant Dies?
For most ant species, when the queen ant dies, the colony number plateaus as the queen ant was solely responsible for laying the eggs. The number of ants in the colony will swindle and eventually the colony will die off completely.
The younger queen ants of the colony can leave their nests to start their independent colony however almost all of the ants of the original ant colony will die along with the colony itself.
In other instances, in ant varieties that have multiple queens, a newer one will replace the dead queen.
A queen ant can replace an entire colony in around 6 months.
This is a rare happening and that is why when people look to get rid of ant infestation in their house, they should always look to kill off the ant colony along with the queen ant otherwise, it won’t fetch any long-term results.
Adult queen ants who have already started a colony of their own rarely go out again. It spends its life within the deeper and safer end of the nest and the other worker ants attend to all of its needs.
If you want to get sight of the queen ants you need to destroy their nest somehow and then have to hope for the queen ant to come out.
Instead of this, another logical method of locating queen ants will be to go outside particularly in the months of summer and spring when the weather is slightly hot and humid.
On days like these, you may encounter queen ants that are participating in nuptial flights mid-air or have already mated and now looking to start a colony of their own.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.