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 or summer are at the beginning of this cycle. The nuptial flight is when queens and males fly from the nest and then mate. When they land the female ant loses her wings and looks for a safe place to lay her fertilized eggs (start a new colony), the male ant dies.


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!

The Borax ant killer formula

How does Borax kill ants? The ants carry it back to their nests to share it with the other ants. When the ants actually start to eat the Borax, boric acid causes them to get really gassy (gas builds up inside their bodies).  Ants don’t get rid of gas like we do, so they eventually die because they can’t expel the gas.

Here’s the formula

  • Mix 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 tablespoons of Borax powder and enough water to make a paste.
  • Stir the mixture until it’s a smooth paste.
  • Smear a few tablespoons of paste in a shallow dish.
  • Leave the dish where you’ve seen the ants.
  • They will find it.
  • Resist the urge to squish them all. Let them carry the poison back to the nest.

I’ve also heard of just adding a few tablespoons of Borax powder to jam or jelly and spreading it around on a dish or lid.

Please comment below and let me know if you’ve had any success with either of these.