In an ant colony, each member has a specific role and place in the hierarchy. Worker ants are the most populous ant caste, while reproductive members and developing young of the colony make up the remaining population.
During mating season, you may spot reproductive males and females flying outdoors looking for a suitable partner, like a queen ant with wings.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about winged female ants and their role in ant colonies. Plus, always remember, whenever you have a tough ant infestation, proof. is here to help!
Ant Colony Structure
While some ant species may differ, most ant colonies follow a similar order. Infertile female worker ants make up most of the colony’s population. In fact, every worker you see is guaranteed to be a female ant!
Worker ants are responsible for the general upkeep of the colony, from foraging for food to keeping the ant hill in top shape. Some ants have soldiers that fight back against intruders or attack other ant hills.
In any colony, worker ants are the glue that holds everything together. Without sufficient workers to keep everything in order, queens and young, developing larvae wouldn’t receive proper care.
Queen ants rule the colony, and their primary role is solely to produce eggs daily. While she doesn’t do much else, all the worker ants are hardwired to protect and support the queen and their home.
A queen can stay alive for a few months to multiple years, depending on the species. Worker ants usually won’t live longer than a few weeks to months, with some types living up to a year!
Whenever breeding season is in full swing, queen ants begin to produce new reproductive colony members, like winged male ants or a queen ant with wings. Worker ants care for these pests as they would the queen until they’re fully matured and ready to embark on their own.
While some colonies have multiple queens that stick around, most only have one queen responsible for consistent reproduction. Any newly-born reproductives will eventually leave the territory to create their own.
Queen Ant with Wings
While you may accidentally confuse winged ants with average insects, these pests resemble typical ants with two sets of long wings. Also called alates, reproductive ants are male and female colony members capable of reproduction.
During the springtime or fall, ants start swarming the skies looking for their perfect match. Reproductive ants are born with wings to help them exit their colonies and meet in the sky to mate.
Despite their importance in ensuring a new generation of ants, male ants don’t live much longer after maturing and mating. Like other insect species, male ants typically die after mating with a viable female.
Besides mating seasons, you’ll probably never see a male ant out and about. They are occasionally located deep within a colony, developing until their full maturation, but you can’t find them unless you dig deep within the anthill.
Female reproductive members, on the other hand, can live much longer! Once successfully mated, the queens search for an adequate space to build and create their colonies by giving birth to her first set of workers.
However, you won’t find a queen ant with wings when you pilfer through an established ant colony. Following mating, queen ants shed their wings and search for a new place to nest on the ground.
Some ants may physically rip off their wings or chew them off with their large, sharp mandibles. These wings can serve as nutrition sources before the birth of her workers or even help sustain her developing children.
Eliminating Queen Ants
So, should you focus your pest control efforts on eliminating queen ants or focus on the whole colony?
Queen ants are chiefly responsible for large ant colonies. While worker ants are accountable for building extensive anthills and foraging through your pantries, queens are the ones who consistently reproduce new young.
Each new generation that passes through a colony’s inner walls is directly descended from the main queen in the colony. While some ants can have multiple queens, most workers stem from a singular queen responsible for giving birth to the entire population.
However, focusing your pest control options solely on the queen isn’t a great idea. While removing the queen from your colony will guarantee all the ants will die out, we suggest you try to remove all of the ants at once.
These queens are located deep within the pack dirt anthills, so you must dig up layers of dirt to find these hidden insects. Plus, you’ll have to battle hundreds or thousands of angry, stinging worker ants to find your desired insect.
It’s also difficult to differentiate between regular ants and queen ants. While queen ants are traditionally larger, they still resemble any run-of-the-mill ant you may see in the colony. You won’t see a queen ant with wings here!
You can do a few things with proven ant elimination methods whenever you want to eliminate the ants on your property.
For existing ant hills in your yard, you can try pouring boiling water on the dirt to get rid of the entire colony quickly. The hot water will swiftly destroy the colony and its inhabitants within seconds. Just be careful not to get burned or ruin your grass!
If you’re interested in creating your ant trap, try placing the borax with peanut butter, honey, or sugar in a small container or shallow dish. While this will eliminate the ants interested in the bait, it could attract other pests or wildlife, so be careful with your placement!
Other chemical ant pest control options or baits can work similarly, and you can find most of these options online or in your local hardware store. However, if you’re interested in a stress-free, hands-off pest control experience, we can help!