Can Ants Have More Than One Queen?

Whether an ant species is single or multi-queen, their social structure remains intact. The queen ant plays a key role in the survival of the colony. She is responsible for producing alates (eggs) for mating flights. She is also responsible for feeding the larvae. She brings food to the colony, cleans the nest, and is responsible for taking care of the other ants in the colony.

A queen’s life span is relatively short. In the average ant colony, there are thousands of workers. A single queen ant can lay billions of eggs over her lifetime. Her lifespan is typically about ten to fifteen years.

There are three main ways to control the number of queens in an ant colony: physical elimination, reproductive castration, and emigration of supernumeraries. Each method has its own advantages.

Physical elimination has been associated with faster worker production. Alternatively, reproductive castration has been associated with slower worker production. A combination of these methods has been shown to produce a true polygyny, where several queens coexist in the same nest.

Cooperation among foundresses is a key strategy for mitigating risks. In a high-risk colony, queens may work together to produce more workers and increase the productivity of the colony.

The number of queens in an ant colony can influence the growth and genetic structure of the colony. The average ant colony contains several hundred winged forms, and has several hundred queens. The number of queens is also influenced by environmental conditions. Some species can have thousands of queens.