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.
- VIDEO: Fire Ants Foraging
- VIDEO: Life of a Fire Ant
- VIDEO: The Fire Ant Queen, Workers and Brood
- Fire Ant Morphology, Reproduction and Development
Find more information about fire ants in eXtension’s Imported Fire Ant Resource Area.