How Long Do Queen Ants Live?
Depending on the ant species, the longevity of an ant queen can range from a few days to a few decades. While the average lifespan of a queen is between two and five years, some species have been known to live for up to a decade.
The longevity of an ant queen depends on the type of ant, the environment in which it is found, and the colonists who live in the colony. In a laboratory, a single Lasius niger queen has been known to live for almost 30 years, while the longevity of a single worker ant is estimated at around one year.
Although the longevity of an ant colony varies, most research papers estimate it to be in the range of a few days. However, some studies have suggested that longer life spans can be achieved by manipulating longevity by up to 20 percent.
For instance, scientists at two German universities have discovered that removing the queen from an ant colony can improve resistance to oxidative stress. The process is called ‘paraquat treatment’.
Another study has shown that a sock full of insulin-suppressing protein can increase the longevity of an ant queen by five times.
The longevity of an ant colony also depends on the age of the queen, and the colonists’ ability to protect her. Often, a dead queen means no replacements. In some species, a young queen may be spotted in the early stages of nuptial flight before her wings fall off.