How long do fire ants live?

Imported Fire Ants October 01, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Fire ant queens typically live 2-6 years (an average of about 3 years). The record longevity of a queen is 7 years. Males die a short time after they swarm and mate. Worker ants usually live 4-6 weeks after emerging as adults.

Fire ant workers live varying lengths of time, depending on their size and the nest temperature. Small workers live 1-2 months, medium workers live 2-3 months, and large workers live 3-6 months.

Fire ant workers change duties as they age. The youngest ants tend the brood and queen. The oldest ants forage outside the nest. Thus, ants that you see foraging on sidewalks and in houses are probably already old and may live only a few days or weeks.

 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.