How Long Do Ghost Ants Live?

Ghost ants share many physical features with pharaoh ants and look alike, as both have the same body size and are light-colored insects but have different lifespans.

How Long Do Ghost Ants Live? Ghost ants live for only 4 to 6 weeks as they have a shorter lifespan, but the fertile females or queens can live for almost 5 to 6 months due to lesser physical activity and efforts to get food. Drones cannot survive for more than 2 to 3 weeks after mating. These omnivorous ants live in cabinets, greenhouses, leaf litter, or potted plants.

They are one of the most common invasive ant species known to expand at explosive rates because their colonies are polygynous.

It can live in and out of the buildings, depending on the environmental conditions and availability of food resources, directly impacting its lifespan.

What is the average lifespan of ghost ants?

The lifespan of ants varies in different species living in different habitats having varying rates of exposure to environmental stress.

These tiny insects have 1.5 to 1.8mm longer bodies and do not grow up like real ghosts because they have a shorter lifespan and die within a few weeks.

Accordingly, it takes time to build their muscular bodies, brain, longer appendages, and other internal or external organs that constitute overall body length.

Moreover, the eggs take almost 2 to 4 weeks to become larvae that need further internal and external development to become mature adults, which take around 6 to 8 weeks.

The adult workers can only survive for at least 4 to 6 weeks after getting fully developed when they take control of nest activities and participate in different roles.

They die of old age after 6 weeks when their lifecycle gets complete and reaches to death phase. In addition, the males are born to mate and die after transferring sperm to their mating partner.

These drones only live for 2 to 3 weeks after mating because they get rejected by the colony and die of lack of care, nutrition, and attention.

Moreover, the queens usually live for many years, but the ghost ant queens cannot survive more than 5 to 6 months as their lifecycle is shorter.

She dies of aging after 6 months and produces eggs within the colony for almost half a year. The colony chooses new queens or feeds fertile females to make them queens after her death.

Do ghost ant workers die before the queen?

Workers ants have many features similar to the queen, like gender, but size and ability to produce eggs are the two main differences between them.

Both are female members of the colony, but workers are sterile that cannot mate with males to produce fertilized eggs. Accordingly, they become a part of the workforce and forage for the ghost ant colony.

They have different lifespans, as workers’ lifecycle gets completed earlier than the queens. These workers become older after 5 weeks and die in the sixth week.

However, the queens can live for almost half a year as their bodies enter a death phase later than the workers, and these fertile females can remain colony members for a long.

One more reason for the early death of workers is the rate of physical activity as they have to perform challenging tasks, like locating a food source by traveling long distances away from nests.

In addition, they have to carry bigger food particles on their back or head, which seems quite strenuous for these little creatures and consumes a lot of energy.

In the same way, they have to feed their colony and make several trips from nest to food source. So, they are more likely to die earlier as they have to work more than the queens.

Furthermore, they can also be at more risk of being predated by the bigger insects because sometimes, they forage individually and get caught by the predators when far from home.

Do female ghost ants live longer than males?

The ghost ant colony comprises two different genders; males and females. The workers and queens are the female population of the colony and constitute almost 93 to 96% population.

In addition, the drones are male insects known to spend a few weeks in the colony after engaging in nuptial flight. They are supposed to live shorter than the female population.

These drones get plenty of nutrition and care from the nest fellows when developing. Workers know about their mating potential, allowing them to live in a colony and eat food.

However, these drones cannot mate more than once in their lives because they transfer all of their sperm into the female pouches, which can be stored for fertilization processes.

Accordingly, the workers consider mated drones a burden for their colony as they are useless to the colony and consume the nutrients or space within the nest.

The workers behave brutally and kick them out of the nests to survive on their own. These social insects cannot survive alone and need attention from colony members to live.

So, these male members get lost somewhere and die of starvation and the absence of shelter or colony support for protection against deadly attacks.

Does temperature affect the lifespan of ghost ants?

Some external environmental factors, like temperature, directly impact the ants’ lifespan. They commonly prefer warm places to live, which is essential for reproduction.

These cold-blooded insects cannot resist extreme environmental changes and die quickly. They avoid building outdoor nests during winter and move indoors to get warmth.

Some species move deeper into underground nests to seek warmth because the upper parts of their mounds are usually covered in snow during winter.

In the same way, ghost ants can freeze in winter as the internal fluid or hemolymph begins to crystalize at low temperatures. It is not possible to survive after long-term exposure to cold.

However, they can live longer in warm conditions and complete their lifecycle in ideal conditions when temperatures range between 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Queens can reproduce well in warmer conditions and stop laying eggs during the winter, so temperature affects the overall colony growth.

Where do ghost ants commonly live?

Ghost ants are common indoor and outdoor pests native to Florida, Hawaii, and other states, where they build nests in humid and warm places because these conditions support their survival.

Most commonly, you can see them crawling in the soil close to rotten wood, plant cavities, and lead litter because they prefer to live in their natural habitat.

Some potted plants can also get ghost ant infestation, in addition to the tree barks, plant stems, and old branches or twigs. They can reach indoors to live in narrow spaces within cabinets.

Tapinoma melanocephalum can also infest the greenhouse and get inside the baseboard or shower rods when looking for moisture to drink water and hydrate their bodies.

What do ghost ants eat?

Ghost ants are omnivorous creatures that can feed on plant- and animal-based food items and switch their diets according to available food options.

They prefer to eat sweet food items and avoid greasy or oily food. Primarily, they choose sweet secretions to fill their bellies and get attracted to aphids producing honeydew.

Moreover, they also eat living or dead insects when they need a protein-rich diet to support larvae growth, as proteins help them develop better muscle mass.

Furthermore, they get attracted to man-made food items in kitchens, like bread, cakes, candies, chocolates, etc., due to their sweet aroma and high sugar content.

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