Ant Lifespan: How Long Does An Ant Live?

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Ants are one of the longest-living creatures on earth, with some species known to live up to 30 years. The average ant lifespan, however, is only about 1-2 years. So what allows these creatures to live so long? One theory is that ants have a very efficient heart that pumps blood very slowly and evenly throughout their body. This means that their cells don’t experience the wear and tear that other animals’ cells do, allowing them to live longer.

Ant colonies are able to thrive due to their social structure. The different castes of ants work together to provide for the colony and protect it from harm. This close-knit community is able to survive and prosper, regardless of the environment around them.

On the other hand, ants are also very interesting creatures with a lifespan that varies depending on the species. This guide will provide everything you should know about ant life span, from the average life expectancy of an ant to the different ways they can die.

How long does an ant live?

When dealing with an infestation, you might wonder just how long the pests can survive inside their nests or in your home. Carpenter, odorous, and pavement ants are common in the Mid-Atlantic states, and the average ant lifespan varies according to its role in the colony.


Queen ant

Queens are the reproductive members of ant colonies. They rarely leave their nests and are protected by the workers owing to which queen ants have a lifespan of 2-20 years, depending on the species. They are responsible for laying eggs and maintaining the colony.


Workers are the most common type of ant, and they make up the majority of the ant population.

These are sterile females that are responsible for looking after the colony, caring for the young, and foraging for food. A worker ant’s lifespan is about six years.

They are also the most expendable, as they are often exposed to predators, traps, and pesticides.

This puts them at a higher risk for death, and thus they have a shorter lifespan than other ants in any other position in the ant hierarchy.


The reproductives are the ants that have mated and started a new colony. The life cycle of an ant starts with the queen, who lays eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae, which the workers then feed. Once they reach maturity, they become reproductives.

Once the male ant has mated with a female, it dies almost immediately. This is because they do not have a role to play in the colony once they have reproduced.

Queens start new colonies by burrowing in soil or wood and laying eggs. Drones or reproductives, exist only to mate with queens and then die.

Worker ants make up the majority of the ant population and can live for several years.

What are the various stages of an ant’s life?

ant life cycle

The life of an ant is divided into four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The egg hatches into a larva, which molts and becomes a pupae. The pupae then become adult ants. Researchers from Arizona State University have carefully examined these stages of an ant’s life.

Nuptial flights

The nuptial flight is the stage in an ant’s life when they reproduce. Ants go through the first stage of their lifetime by reproducing. The nuptial flight is a time when ants mate and reproduce.

During this time, the queen ant will fly off with a group of male ants to find a new place to live. Once they find a suitable spot, the queen will start laying eggs. Only the queens can reproduce, and once they have mated, the queens will return to their colonies to start new ones.

Ant Eggs

ant egg

Ant eggs are typically laid by the queen and take around six weeks to hatch. Once hatched, the new ants will then go through a series of molts before becoming adults.

When an ant colony is founded, the queen will use her wings to release a burst of energy that she will use to lay eggs. The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day and may live for up to 15 years.

Ant Larvae

Larvae are the immature stage of an ant. They are blind and completely helpless when they first hatch from their eggs. They will stay in this stage until they are able to take care of themselves.

They are typically very small and require help and nourishment from the queen and ants workers in order to grow and develop into adults.

Ant Pupae

When ants reach the pupal stage, they will spin a cocoon and undergo a number of changes. This process includes turning into adult ants. The amount of time that is required by an ant to complete this process varies but typically lasts around two weeks.


It takes around 6 to 15 days for the transformation of larvae into an adult ant to occur, which further varies depending on the species of ant. Once the ants reach the adult stage, they will mate and start a new colony.

When ants reach adulthood, they undergo a number of physical changes. One of the most notable differences is their color. Adult ants are typically darker than young ants.

The young ants are rather pale, and as they age, their coloring will become darker. Additionally, adults have developed wings and can fly.

Male Ant Lifespans vs Female Ant Lifespans

One of the unique things about ants is their different life spans based on gender. Male ants have a lifespan of around 60-70 days, while female ants can live up to 180 days. This difference in lifespan is due to the different roles that males and females play in ant colonies.

Males are responsible for mating and dying soon after, while females are responsible for laying eggs and caring for the young ants.

Interestingly, male ants are largely considered to be just there for breeding with their queen. Many male ants never even get the opportunity to do this, as they die prematurely. Conversely, female ants typically have a longer lifespan since they play a larger role in the colony.

The life expectancy of a female ant really depends on its role in the colony. If they are workers, they will usually live for around 6-7 months. However, if they become queens, they can live for multiple years and even produce eggs.

When an ant is laying eggs, the rest of the colony pays attention. This is because the eggs represent future ants, and the colony wants to ensure their success.

what is the lifespan of an ant? Various Types of Ants and How Long Do They Live?

Fire Ants

Fire ants

Fire ants have a short average lifespan. Queen Fire ants live between 2 and 6 years, while workers only live around 90 days. This is owing to the fact that they are constantly under attack from predators, parasites, and diseases.

On the other hand, a male fire ant dies a couple of days after mating with the queen, while worker fire ants live from a couple of weeks up to a couple of months. The most long-lived ant is the fire ant queen, which can live for up to 7 years.

The life span of a fire ant also depends on the temperature of its nest and its size. Small worker fire ants usually only live for a few months, while larger worker fire ants can live up to a couple of years.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants

The most common type of ant is none other than the carpenter ant. They live in many different parts of the world and can be found in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Carpenter ant queens live for 7–10 years, while worker ants only live for a year. At the same time, the male ants, much like the other species of ants, die within weeks after having mated with the queen ant.

Flying Ants

Flying ants

This species of ants have a slightly longer life span than other ants. Worker flying ants typically live for around six weeks to eight weeks. In contrast, the Queens can live for 15 years to a couple of decades.

Lastly, the males die quickly after mating with the queen, like in all other ant species.

Sugar Ants

Sugar ants

Sugar ants are a variety of ant that is found in many different parts of the world. They get their name from their love of sugar, which they use to store energy for times when food is scarce. Sugar ants live on average around seven years, but there have been cases where they have lived up to 12 years.

Bullet Ants

Bullet ants

Bullet ants are a type of ant that is found in Central and South America. They are known for their incredibly painful sting, which is said to be as bad as getting shot.

These ants have a lifespan that is shorter than most other ant species. They typically only live for around six months. This is due to the fact that they are constantly under attack from predators and parasites.

Ghost Ants

Ghost ants

Ghost ants are a small, monomorphic species of ant that look quite different from their relatives, known as odorous house ants. They get their name from their tendency to disappear into the background and are difficult to see.

Ghost ants are very common in the United States and can be found in a variety of environments. Interestingly, ghost ants are native to the tropics and cannot survive in colder states if their nest is not near a heat source.

If you live in a colder state and see an ant crawling around your house during winter, it is most likely a ghost ant.

A queen ghost ant will lay an egg approximately every 20 minutes and can live up to 5 years. She will also produce around 1,000 eggs during her lifetime. The lifespan of a male is about 45-60 days, while the worker ants usually live for 6-12 months.

How Long Do Ants Live Without Food, Air, and Water?

When it comes to how long ants can live without food, water, and air, it’s important to understand that ants don’t have lungs. This means they need air to breathe – if deprived of it for too long, they will die.

Ants can survive without food for up to two weeks. They get their water from the food they eat and will die if they don’t have any access to food or water for an extended period of time that is beyond five days. Ants can also live without air for a couple of days, but they will eventually die if they don’t have access to air.

How Long Do Ants Live in an Ant Farm?

If you’re wondering how long do ants live on an ant farm, the answer is that they will die quickly if they are not taken care of. Ants need food, water, and a clean environment to survive, so it’s important to take care of them every day.

Ants live on an ant farm for a period of time that ranges from a couple of months to one year. The time they spend on the farm depends on the type of ants and the conditions of the farm.


Ants have a wide range of life spans depending on their role in the colony. Queens can live for up to 15 years, while worker ants only live for about 3-4 months.

The average lifespan of an ant is around six months, but there are a few variables that can affect this. The caste of the ant, the climate, and the food availability all play a role in how long an ant will live. Queens have the longest lifespan because their colony depends on them.

Though the life span of an ant is largely dependent on its species, it is not as important as its role in the colony. For example, a soldier will have a lifespan that is shorter than that of a queen because the queen’s role is to lay eggs and perpetuate the colony.

There are a number of species of ants with different lifespans, so it is difficult to generalize how long they live. In conclusion, though ants’ lifespans vary, their roles in the colony are more important in determining their life span.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.