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Pest Ant Lifecycle, Pest control In Nepal
LIFE CYCLE OF ANTS

The life cycle of ants begins with the nuptial flight, which usually occurs in the late spring or early summer, depending on environmental factors. During this mating flight, male winged carpenter ants, or swarmers, mate with winged females. Soon after mating, the females shed their wings and the males die. The female ants then search for a new site to build their colonies. The queen typically seeks a small crack in a wooden structure. She then closes herself inside that chamber, and lays the first batch of eggs. She remains inside the chamber until her first batch of eggs becomes adult workers. During this time, the queen uses her stored fat reserves and wing muscles for nourishment. The queen provides food for the young by means of her salivary glands until they become workers capable of foraging. The queen looks after her first brood, and, once grown, that first brood of adult workers takes care of subsequent broods. It takes three to six years to establish a large and stable colony. The life cycle of a carpenter ant is estimated to be 6 to 12 weeks from egg to adult. Cold weather can stretch the development time of carpenter ants up to 10 months. The only role of the carpenter ant queen is to lay eggs, but as soon as worker carpenter ants mature into adults, they take on the responsibilities of the colony. They forage for food, tend to the eggs, larvae and pupae, and excavate galleries to broaden and propagate their nest. Functions are divided into two castes: major workers who act as soldiers to guard the nest, and minor workers who forage for food and take care of the young. After two or more years, the queen begins to produce winged males and females who will leave to begin other colonies of carpenter ants. A typical carpenter ant colony contains one queen.

ANT LARVAE

Carpenter ants go through complete metamorphosis, passing through the egg, larval, pupal and adult stages. When male and female winged reproductives leave a colony, they mate. Soon after mating, females shed their wings and males die. Each wingless female will now look for moist locations where she will lay her first batch of eggs and establish a new colony. It takes an individual ant six to 12 weeks to develop from egg to adult, and it takes three to six years to develop an active and stable colony. This development timeline depends on a steady warm temperature. Colder weather can lengthen the process up to 10 months. Carpenter ant larvae are small, white, legless and grub-like young. During this stage, adult workers forage for food for the carpenter ant larvae. Carpenter ant larvae process the solid food given to them by workers and regurgitate it so that other ants can consume the liquid. Even at an early stage in their lives, carpenter ant larvae are necessary for their colonies to develop and survive. As long as a colony houses a queen, there will always be larvae developing within it.

ANT QUEENS

A carpenter ant colony can consist of thousands of workers, but typically only one queen. Like other ant species, the carpenter ant queens are responsible for laying eggs. Winged male swarmers exist to mate with the female swarmers. Shortly after mating, male carpenter ants die, having accomplished their only task. Carpenter ant queens measure about 13 to 17 mm in length and, depending on the species, are dark brown, yellow, red or black in color. After mating with the male carpenter ant, the queen sheds her wings and looks for a new nesting site for her young. The queen prefers moist and rotten wood to establish a new colony. After locating a nesting site, she seals herself inside the wood until the first brood of 9 to 16 eggs hatches and develops into adults. While raising the first batch of workers, the carpenter ant queen uses stored fat reserves and her wing muscles for nutrition until they become fully mature workers. The development of carpenter eggs to adult workers spans approximately 6 to 12 weeks. After the first generation of workers becomes capable of foraging for food, they take over all responsibilities for the colony except egg-laying. Adult workers forage for food, expand their nest by excavating wood, and care for the queen and developing ants. Because the first generation of workers was fed from the carpenter queen ant’s bodily fluids, they are typically smaller in size. Succeeding generations grow larger through a healthy foraged diet of honeydew, insects and other small invertebrates. Carpenter ant queens lay eggs that become workers and future queens. After at least two years, the queen produces winged swarmers to form new colonies. A carpenter ant queen can survive up to 25 years and lay thousands of fertilized eggs during her lifespan.