How Carpenter Ants Build Nests

Ant Life Cycle Facts

Although they are a nuisance, ants are an interesting pest. If you were to observe their life cycle and habits, you would learn that they are a well-colonized pest with an intricate work system. A colony generally consists of a queen, workers, and soldiers.

The queen produces ants for the colony. Workers build an intricate nest consisting of multiple tunnels, and soldiers work to protect the colony from potential threats. Understanding the life cycle of an ant is as helpful as it is interesting. By learning about their life cycle, you can learn what to do to prevent and control an ant invasion of your home and property.

The Facts

An ant’s life occurs in four stages, which includes:

  • Egg

  • Larva

  • Pupa

  • Adult

The queen produces eggs both fertilized and unfertilized. Fertilized eggs will always hatch female ants and unfertilized eggs will always hatch male ants. Female ants can grow to become workers, soldiers, or even a queen ant. Male ants can grow to become either workers or soldiers.

The oval-shaped eggs are often hard to see since they are only 1 mm long, though the egg belonging to a queen is somewhat larger. Once the egg hatches, the ant will enter the larva phase. During the larva phase, the ant has a worm-like appearance.

They have no legs or eyes. Adult ants must provide larva with regurgitated food so they can eat. Larvae will molt a few times, which allows them to grow larger in size. Once it finishes molting and growing, it will enter the pupa phase.

To enter the pupa phase, the larva will spin a cocoon around itself, much like a caterpillar does before becoming a butterfly. Unfortunately, it is not a beautiful butterfly that emerges from the cocoon. Instead, the pupa metamorphoses into an adult.

Adult ants have a relatively short life of between six and ten weeks. However, the queen ant can live as long as fifteen years and worker ants may live for seven years. Typically, it is the soldier ants that have a short life.


In general, you only see ants in their adult form. It is not likely that you will come across ant eggs, nor will you likely see them in their larva and pupa stages. Since ants typically build hidden nests, generally underground, that is where the eggs, larvae, and cocoons remain.

Ants will not emerge from the nest until they reach adulthood. If you see adult ants in or around your home, call a professional. An adult ant may indicate that there is a nest nearby. Any nearby nest likely has ants growing by the numbers each day.

Fortunately, a professional can help you rid your home of ants quickly and effectively. They use methods that destroy the entire colony, including eggs, larvae, and cocoons. They also destroy the nest so any stragglers cannot rebuild.

The Exterminators Inc. offers customized ant control solutions for both residential and commercial properties. Call us now: 647-496-2211.