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Fire Ant Queen: What to Look For

Fire ant queen

Does your home or business suffer from fire ants? The fire ant queen may be to blame! Fire ant colonies, like other insects, rely on a queen to lead and multiply the colony. The queen is an integral part of the life cycle of a colony, as she is the only ant capable of producing eggs and will be defended at all costs. Eliminating the queen from a fire ant colony is a necessary step to getting rid of any fire ant infestations you may have in and around your home. If you are experiencing fire ants, identifying and killing the queen is pivotal to stopping and eliminating future fire ant issues.

What does a fire ant queen look like?

A fire ant queen is generally larger than the rest of the ants in the colony, as she is fed and protected by the colony to produce eggs. Queen fire ants will have a large head and thorax making them stand out from the normal worker ants. Queen fire ants normally have wings at some point in their lives, so looking for wings or scars on their backs from where a set of wings would have been shed is a good indicator that you have found a queen in the mound. Fire ant queens will also be surrounded by worker ants as they feed her and tend to the eggs that she is producing. 

Is there a fire ant queen in every fire ant mound?

Every fire ant mound will have a queen that is leading the colony and producing more ants. In some parts of the country, fire ant mounds can house multiple queens at a time. A single queen mound is known as a monogynous mound, and a multiple queen mound is called a polygnous mound. A polygynous mound can produce more than double the number of ants compared to a monogynous mound due to the addition of an extra queen or queens that can lay eggs. Due to the large reproduction rate of these mounds, an infestation of fire ants can become a severe problem as the fire ants begin to expand their colonies and create new mounds in surrounding areas.

Do you need to kill the fire ant queen for the mound to die?

Killing the fire ant queen is incredibly important to exterminate the colony. An effective way of killing a fire ant queen is by applying poison bait. Worker ants will retrieve the bait and take it back to the colony. Adult fire ants cannot eat solid food, so the bait must be taken to the ant larvae to be converted to liquid. This process of turning solid food into liquid is known as trophallaxis. The liquid that is created through trophallaxis is then fed to the other workers as well as the queen, which will poison the mound from the inside and eliminate the queen from the colony. Once the queen is killed the colony will have no way to produce new ants, and the remaining worker ants will slowly begin to die off.

Call Clegg’s Today

If your yard has been infested with fire ant mounds, there are most likely many queens to be found. Fire ant mounds can pop up fast and they seem to multiply like there’s no tomorrow. Have the professionals come out and get rid of all the fire ant mounds in your yard to make sure they don’t come back.

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