How Long Do Ants Live?

Ants are social insects that live in colonies. But how long do ants live? All members of the colony assume different roles once they become adults. There are four stages in the life cycle of an ant. It begins with the eggs followed by the larval stage, pupal stage, and lastly, the adults.

Here is what happens during an ant’s life cycle:


The queen lays many eggs throughout her lifetime. It takes around six to ten weeks until the eggs hatch. The eggs are white, oval-shaped, and transparent. They are extremely small, measuring about 0.5 mm in diameter. 

Working female ants are also capable of laying eggs. Ant eggs have a smooth and sticky surface, which allows the eggs to stick together. It also allows the eggs to form a big mass, which makes it easy for the workers to transport them.



Ant eggs will hatch after seven to fourteen days. The larvae are transparent and white. They look like maggots and have no legs and eyes. The larvae will go through different moulting phases where they will develop hair. Ant larvae consume the regurgitated food and juices that adult workers provide.


Ant larvae will enter the pupal stage after going through several moults. The pupas have a white and waxy appearance. Their antennae and legs are also folded up. Some species of ants do not go through the pupal stage.


The pupa will become an adult. Unfertilized eggs will hatch male ants, while fertilized eggs will produce female ants. Newborn ants will have a pale and soft appearance at first and then achieve a darker colour after several hours. Their exoskeletons will also harden.

Young female ants are considered caretakers or queen workers. They take care of the eggs and expand the nest.

New queens will grow wings and eventually fly away with male ants that have wings as well. After finding a suitable spot where they can build a new colony, they will shed their wings and begin creating a new colony.

How Long Do Different Ants Live?

You need to know how long ants live so that you can get rid of them properly. Ants usually have a short lifespan, but some members of the colony can live from several days to a couple of decades. One of the factors that affect their lifespan is the ant’s caste. Ant colonies have different castes – queens, male ants, and workers.

Queen Ants

Queen ants are the egg-laying colony members, and they have the longest lifespan among them. They can live for many years. After mating once, the queen will store the sperm in a special pouch. When the right time comes, she will open the pouch and let the sperm fertilize her eggs. 


Male Ants

Male ants, on the other hand, live for only a couple of days. After mating, the male ants isolate themselves and die eventually. Worker ants are responsible for maintaining and supporting the colony. They are the non-reproducing adult females of the colony. Worker ants live for a couple of weeks or several months.

The Lifespan of Different Ant Species

Different species of ants have various lifespans. For instance, an odorous house ant worker can live for up to three years. They are the most common species of ants that are seen inside homes. Fire ant workers can live for up to five weeks.

Worker Argentine ants live for ten to twelve months, while queens can survive for several years. Carpenter ants can live between six and twelve weeks from eggs to adults.

How Long Ants Live Is Affected by Food Availability

The longevity of worker ants is affected by the quality and availability of food they eat. Worker ants sacrifice their welfare for the overall well-being and health of the colony. If food becomes scarce, they eat less compared to other members of the colony. This will ensure that the ant colony has enough food resources for the other members.


How Long Do Ants Stay in Homes or Buildings?

Now, how long do ants live and stay in homes or buildings? It depends on how fast you can get rid of them. You will not be able to control them if you are only spraying the visible ones. The ants that you see are the older workers that are following trails to and from their nests. The best way to eliminate visible ants is by targeting the ones hidden from your sight. 

What Queen Ants Do

Queens never leave the nest. So, if you are only spraying the visible workers with pesticides, the queens will only produce more eggs that will hatch into new ants. The infestation will never end. Remember, queens can live longer than other colony members. By targeting the queens, you can eliminate both the visible and hidden ants. However, this can be a little tricky because the nest is often hidden underneath concrete slabs or behind walls.

Eliminating Ants

So, what is the best way to eliminate them? You need to know how to prevent ants from entering your house in the first place. With the help of a pest control professional and an ongoing treatment plan, you can manage the ant problems in your abode.

  • The pest control professional will inspect your property to create the best plan to get rid of ants and prevent them from coming back. The plan can include exterior and interior treatments and closing entry points around your property. They may also place insect growth regulators or IGRs around your home.

  • You should also keep your home clean. Most ant species will invade properties to look for food. By removing possible food sources that fit their diet, you can prevent them from invading your home. However, it is not easy to achieve a spotless home. The crumbs or granules of sugar that you failed to remove can be a feast for the queen.

  • Proper waste management can help control ants. And one of the best ways to do this is by removing trash from your home immediately. That way, they will not be able to forage for food in your trash. After all, you do not want ants to find food sources in your home. So, the best way to starve them out is to prevent them from having access to food. 

  • Aside from vacuuming the floor and wiping down surfaces, you should also store food properly. When cleaning your home, pay attention to the areas that you usually miss such as behind appliances and furniture. You should also inspect the baseboards. 

  • And remember, ants can easily climb inside open boxes of food. The usual packaging of foods cannot withstand ant invasions. That is why you need to store food in airtight containers. Tighten the lids to prevent the worker ants from gaining access to your food. That way, they will not be able to bring any food back to their colonies.

  • Do not forget to wipe down the exterior of your containers or storage bins after using them. Ants can pick up the “invisible” leftovers that you failed to remove like the excess film from the orange juice you had spilled. You can also store food in hard-to-access areas such as the refrigerator, freezer, mason jar, or resealable plastic bag.

Products we recommend to eliminate ants indoors and outdoors are the following:

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Possible Reasons for Your Ant Problem

Ants usually enter homes or buildings to look for food. Your home may be close to the location of their colony. They need food to survive, and your home may offer the water and food sources they need. An ant’s diet usually consists of nectar, honeydew, leaves, small insects, and seeds.

Your home can also give them protection from the weather and predators. Thus, it can become a possible spot for a new ant colony once they are ready to grow. You need to prevent them from setting up colonies in your home by removing any food sources that fit their diet.


So how long do ants live? It depends on the species, caste, and food sources. But it is not enough to know how long do ants live. You need to know how to get rid of them properly. The best way to deal with ants is to call a pest control professional. 


Remember, queens can live for many years. Pest control professionals know how long do ants live, which allows them to apply the right treatment plan for an existing infestation. So, whether you are dealing with black garden ants or fire ants, it is best to call a professional to deal with the problem for you.