The Ant Life Cycle

The ant life cycle has five stages…

  • Nuptial flight (flying ants land and mate)
  • Egg (small oval shaped eggs)
  • Larva (grow in size as they are fed by adult ants – look like rice)
  • Pupa (silk-like cocoon – ant body takes shape inside)
  • Adult (ant)

The whole process can take 8-10 weeks in warmer climates and much longer in colder climates.

*The winged ants you see in the spring are at the beginning of the cycle. The nuptial flight is when queens and males fly from the nest and then mate when they land to start a new colony. After mating, the male ant dies and the female ant loses her wings and lays her eggs.


AntArk.net has a great depiction of how the cycle works.

from antark.net
from antark.net

Turning over a rock

These guys appear to be at the Larvae stage.

The ant life cycle is a form of ‘metamorphosis‘, it is the same process a caterpillar uses to change into a butterfly (Egg – Larvae – Pupae – Adult).

The life cycle process can take any where from a few weeks to up to a year to complete. This is dependant on surrounding temperatures, humidity and food available.

antark.net

Some light reading “The Ants”

A friend of mine (who obviously knows me well) got me a book for my birthday!

The Ants is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, written in 1990, by Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson. It was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1991. – wikipedia

I found it on Amazon for $174.00. I hope he didn’t pay full price!