When you hear the word “ants,” the last thing you think about is their egg-laying capabilities. Not only do ants lay eggs, but their queen ant lays a ton of them. Ever wonder How many eggs can a queen ant lays?
The number of eggs a queen ant lays depends on certain factors. They include the queen and colony’s age, ant species, size, and habitation. After mating flights, queen ants produce only a dozen eggs. With time, some queen species lay as many as 800 eggs daily, depending on colony maturity.
In the rest of this 4-minute read, we’ll discuss how many eggs each type of ant lays, how long it takes for a queen ant to lay eggs, and so much more.
This isn’t one to miss.
Do Ants Lay Eggs?
Ants are insects that produce offspring by laying eggs. The life cycle of an ant colony starts with the queen ant laying fertilized eggs. The egg’s metamorphosis is similar to that of other insects. They hatch into larvae, then pupae, before turning into young ants.
Female ants leave the nest and mate with male ants during a nuptial flight.
After female ants mate, they shed wings and look for conducive places to set up a new colony.
In the new nest, they lay eggs and feed the larvae until they hatch to form the first brood.
How long does it take for an ant queen to lay eggs after mating?
A queen commences egg laying after a successful nuptial flight and nest setup. Species like the fire ant lay eggs within 24 hours. Others take a few days or weeks. After laying the first eggs, depending on the species, some queens lay eggs for a year, others for many years.
The pharaoh ants queen lay eggs for about 12 months.
The sugar ant queen lays eggs for up to 15 years.
The average egg-laying period is about seven years.
Why does a queen ant lay so many eggs?
The primary role of the queen ant is to reproduce. She lays as many eggs as possible to ensure the survival and sustainability of her own colonies. Queens can live for many years, but the lifespan of worker ants is short, with male ants dying soon after mating.
Laying many eggs that hatch to new ants, workers, and males, ensures colony sustainability. (Source)
Does the queen ant lay all of the eggs for the colony?
The queen ant is the mother of all ants and lays all the eggs. The fertilized eggs hatch into worker ants, and the unfertilized eggs hatch into male ants. The years a queen ant lives are to fulfill the sole purpose of egg laying.
However, as the queen ages, she becomes less productive, slowly weakening until she dies.
Do worker ants lay eggs?
Ants have a caste system consisting of a female egg-laying queen, female workers, and males. Only the female queen lays eggs. Most ant species are monogenic and only have one egg-laying queen. Workers do not lay eggs even among polygenic ants (ants with multiple queens).
However, in a study of the crazy yellow ants, this species has been documented to have workers that lay eggs.
But, the trophic (unfertilized) eggs do not hatch.
They are fed to the larvae and the queen to meet the colony’s protein and nutrition needs. (Read More)
Do All Queen Ants Lay The Same Amount of Eggs?
The amount of eggs queen ants lay is different. It depends on factors such as species, maturity of the colony, habitat, and food availability. New queens across species only lay 10-20 eggs or fewer. Species such as pharaoh ants only lay about 400 eggs in a lifetime.
On the other hand, a fire ant queen in a mature colony lays about 800 eggs a day.
Larger ants, such as bullet ants, lay about ten eggs regularly and not daily like many other ant types. (Source To PDF)
How Many Eggs Does a Carpenter Ant Lay?
Upon a successful mating flight, a carpenter ant queen finds a suitable nest in wood or tree bark. She lays about 20 eggs that she nurtures until they hatch into larvae. The larvae’s food is fat from her reserves and proteins from her wing muscles.
Carpenter ant queens lay eggs twice a year.
A full colony develops after three to four years when the first swarming occurs. (Source)
How Many Eggs Does a sugar ant lay?
The banded sugar ant lays between 5-60 eggs in an underground nest after a nuptial flight. Sugar ants do not commence laying eggs immediately after mating. Unlike the fire ant that lays eggs in a day, new sugar ant queens nest underground for weeks before laying the first eggs.
Once the eggs hatch, the queen feeds the larvae until they develop into young workers in 6-10 weeks.
How many eggs does a bullet ant lay?
The bullet ants are among the big ants’ species, and in line with their large size, the queens lay eggs in small quantities. They lay about ten eggs regularly. Unlike other ant queens that stop eating when brooding new colonies, bullet ant queens perform foraging activities to feed the larvae.
The hatching success rate in this ants species is low because the larvae are big and need lots of food to develop fully.
Thus, the queen has to find food to feed the larvae. As an adaptation, the larvae receive their protein from feeding on some newly laid eggs.
How Many Eggs Do fire ants lay?
Upon a successful mating flight, the queen burrows into the soil and creates a nascent nest. In a day, she lays 10-20 eggs which she broods. She continues laying a dozen eggs daily. The queen is the only ant that lays eggs in a colony.
As the colony matures, the queen’s egg-laying capability accelerates, and she can have a mature colony in 6 months to a year.
A fire ant queen lays about 800 eggs per day at colony maturity.
The prolific reproduction explains why fire ants exist in large numbers.
How many eggs does a black ant lay?
The black ant (Lasius niger) queens lay about a dozen eggs after establishing a new nest. Like other queens, she sheds her wings and does not eat until the first brood of ants develops. The queen continues to grow the colony by laying more eggs.
Reproduction continues in the summer months.
A full colony reaches over 5,000 ants.
How many eggs does a pharaoh ant lay?
Pharaoh ants queens produce about 10-12 eggs per batch. After that, each egg lot is about seven eggs. The metamorphosis is between 38-45 days, depending on how conducive the environment is. Pharaoh queens do not produce many eggs in their lifetime. Mating happens in nests. No nuptial flights occur.
The queen lays about 400 eggs in her lifetime, which is approximately a year.
These ants reproduce throughout the year to compensate for this egg-laying shortfall.
They also produce sexual males and females in each reproduction cycle.