How Long Do Sugar Ants Live?

Sugar ants are attracted to sweet items. Ants have different lifespans as their species, and castes in a colony directly impact their lifestyle.

How Long Do Sugar Ants Live? Sugar ant queens can live for 12 to 15 years; worker ants can live for 6 to 7 years, while male ants have a shorter lifespan and die after 15 to 20 days. Moreover, their lifespan depends on territorial competition, food quality and availability, external temperature, risk of predator attacks, and humidity level.

White vinegar has toxic effects on sugar ants and makes them die instantly when you spray a sufficient quantity of solution directly on their tiny bodies and make them drown.

What is the lifespan of sugar ants?

These ants prefer to eat sweet food items rich in glucose and provide high energy to function inside the nest. Therefore, these insects get attracted to sugary substances, like juices or chocolates.

In addition, baked items, creamy biscuits, sticky candies, etc., can attract these crawling pests to get nutrition and bring the particles back to their nests.

This species of ants have a longer lifespan than others, and it varies for different castes in a colony. Some members die earlier than others due to colony requirements and genetic makeup.

The males are known to have the shortest lifespan in a colony and live only for 15 to 20 days. They are produced only for mating purposes and die after a few days of mating.

Moreover, worker ants can work for almost 6 to 7 years of their lives and die when their lifespan gets complete due to aging. This is because they spend a busy life and foraging for food until death.

Some workers die of exhaustion as they have a high workload compared to males and queens and keep working all day.

Furthermore, the queens in the sugar ant colony can live for almost 12 to 15 years because she remains in a resting position most of the time and lays eggs only.

What factors affect the lifespan of sugar ants?

Different factors are responsible for determining the lifespan of sugar ants, like the caste of ants in a colony, type of activities, and diet or environmental factors.

Availability and quality of food

Food availability is a prominent factor in determining the lifespan because an ideal diet improves their life and makes them live longer.

Sugar ants can become weak due to a food shortage and cannot perform tasks well. In addition, it decreases their ability to fight off predators as their bodies become deficient in energy.

Food quality also matters as they need protein-rich food to improve the colony’s survival as brood needs protein to build up their muscular bodies.

A lack of carbohydrates in their diet can make their cells devoid of nutrients and causes a reduction in the amount of energy they produce.

So, a food shortage and other essential nutrients can make them die earlier due to starvation.

Territorial competition

Many species of ants are territorial and do not tolerate interference in their nests and mounds. They can kill invaders when they try to attack their resources or invade their territory.

It takes much time and effort to locate the food resources and return them to nests to feed the colony. Accordingly, the colony members prefer to fight to the death to protect the resources.

Some natural predators like spiders and beetles can attack their nests and kill the queen or workers to invade their mounds and build their homes.

Moreover, some invading insects reach close to the mounds to steal eggs and larvae and kill them to get nutrition from their tiny and soft bodies.

So, the territorial competition can pose stress on the colony members, mainly soldiers, and make them die earlier before their lifespan reaches an end.

Location of nests

The location of nests also plays a crucial role in determining the lifespan of tiny insects because they are more prone to attack when living in the outdoors.

Climatic conditions directly affect their lifestyle and increase the risk of death as they have less tolerance for extreme conditions.

Additionally, high temperature or moisture level affects their activity patterns and changes their metabolic rate.

It is not easy for these cold-blooded insects to survive in cold weather as their body temperature drops quickly and can make them freeze.

However, indoor areas can provide sufficient warmth and protection from predator attacks like hummingbirds or starlings, as they can hide between narrow spaces.

So, access to safe spots and the location of the nests matters as warmth and lesser exposure to attackers allows them to complete their natural lifecycle and die only due to aging.

Level of humidity

These insects need a moist environment to keep their bodies wet and allow cells to perform their function correctly. However, excessive moisture can kill them as their tiny bodies can drown underwater.

It can cause blockage of spiracles and make them die due to suffocation. This is because they can keep water out of their bodies for almost 20 to 24 hours and rely on stored oxygen.

There is a risk of death due to drowning after one day as they will feel suffocated underwater. In the same way, dry conditions can also pose stress and causes the drying of an exoskeleton.

Accordingly, the humidity level plays an essential role in their survival rate, as they can die earlier if they do not get exposed to the required moisture content.

External temperature

Ants cannot survive at high temperatures as they suffer from dehydration when heat rays fall on their bodies and cause water evaporation.

Their bodies can perform well at 74 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit as colonies grow in warm conditions. They can live longer if exposed to ideal temperatures and function properly.

However, freezing temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit pose a risk of freezing their muscular bodies and causing death as their body temperature drops down to a deadly level.

Their activities and metabolic rates get affected as they cannot go out for foraging and locating a water source and die due to starvation and dehydration.

Do queens have a long lifespan in a sugar ant colony? 

Queens usually have a longer lifespan than other members in a colony as their genetic makeup allows them to live long.

They can live for many years compared to workers having a lifespan of a few weeks.

Sugar ants workers cannot live more than 6 to 7 years and die due to aging, but the queens can live for almost 12 to 15 years. Therefore, they have a lesser risk of a predator attack and drowning.

These reproductive females leave their nests only when they have to mate with males and spend their lives inside mounds for the remaining life. Their purpose in life is only egg production.

In addition, their physical activities are not so strenuous and reduce the risk of death due to exhaustion as they remain inside nests most of the time.

So, these winged females can spend more time with brood, observe more than one generation within nests, and die after producing 2 or 3 generations.

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