Ants have been a figure of curiosity for zoologists and pest exterminators for a long time. “How long do ants live without food or water?” has always been an ushering question for both parties.
As far as ants are concerned, no other member of the Insecta class or the Arthropoda phylum is as common as the ant. Ants are found literally everywhere in the world. Due to extensive survival instincts and flexible adjustments to a specific habitat, they are now available everywhere.
Ants are extensively available throughout the world and have around 830 types of themselves just in India.
Some people consider ants a subject of enormous mystery and research, while others consider them a menace. Either way, they are quite an interesting family of small creatures, which are pretty compulsive on their own.
Table of Contents
How Long Do Ants Live Without Food or Water?
All living organisms require food and water in order to thrive. Throughout human history, food and water have always been the most important factors in a person’s ability to survive. But, how long can an ant live without food? Food and water are essential for ant life.
Ants have great survival instincts. Ants can live for multiple days without food and water. They will relentlessly search for commodities, but they can still manage without food and water for multiple days.
Ants build their homes and make a big colony out of them just for the sake of food and water.
So, how long can ants live without food? Most ants live up to at most a week without food and up to a couple of weeks without water. Food and water are essential commodities not just for humans but also for ants, just like any other organism.
Every one of us has noticed their endeavor behind gathering food for the hive. They have a big colony to look after, and a steady supply of food and water keeps the flow of life going smoothly.
How Long can Ants Survive Without Food?
Ants can live up to a good four to ten days without any food consumption. This fact applies to the worker ants too.
The worker ants are the most active platoon of their colony, mostly spending their days outside searching for food.
How Do Ants Gather Food?
Ants travel and communicate through the scent of the pheromones left by other ants. Ants also search for food with the help of these pheromones.
The ants leave these pheromone trails for food sources. The next batch of worker ants follow these trails and track the food.
How Long Can Ants Live Without Water?
Ants that live high up on trees or among leaves are more unlikely to dry out than those on earth. The reason behind this distinction is the presence of rain and moisture.
Ants living on top of trees get enough rain or moisture from the atmosphere to stay alive without water. But the ants on the ground will not have this luxury. They will have to consume water, or they might dry up.
Ants can generally live up to two weeks without water. Any more than that, and they will be dehydrated and dry up.
Ants generally look to find water wherever it’s available. They can drink water from the ground or the stagnant water on the leaves. Any source of water is okay for the ants and beneficial for their nests.
Can Ant Colonies Survive Without Food or Water?
Ant colonies generally do not survive without sufficient food and water for a long time. Ants might even get a new queen to sit at the helm by removing the previous queen from a majority group.
They will start with larvae with just what food they are left with for survival. No matter how many ants are part of a colony, they will not survive without any incoming food for more than two weeks.
The ants will scavenge whatever food they can find to try to avert this catastrophe. They’ll eat all the food in their colony. Within two weeks, if there is no incoming food, they will die.
How Long Do Ants Live? (Caste System and Lifespan of an Ant)
Ants live in a society that follows a strict caste system, and the life expectancy of an ant depends on their caste. Ant society is classified into males, females, and the queen.
Each of these castes has its own adjusted life span. The male ants have only one job: to mate with the queen.
Due to their limited purpose, they generally live one to two weeks at most. To avoid unnecessary reproduction, the female ants are sterile. They are the worker ants whose job is to collect food, protect the colony, and take care of the queen.
The lifespan of worker ants greatly depends on available food sources and conditions. It generally ranges from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. There have also been cases where the worker ants lived for several years.
How Long Does a Queen Ant Live? (Lifespan of a Queen Ant)
The queen ant has a long lifespan. A queen ant can live up to a decade and keep reproducing and laying eggs. Some queens can live for fifteen years, while some have even touched the age of twenty-eight.
The worker ants tend to live longer as compared to other castes. They have a life span of about two weeks to two months. The males generally live for about a week or two.
The queen, on the other hand, breaks all boundaries and limitations. Living for more than ten years is a lot compared to normal ant lifespans.
What Do Ants Eat?
Ants have diverse preferences. They eat various things like animal matter, carcasses, human garbage, and plant matter such as aphids and other insects. They also feed on sugary things that are spilled or leftover by humans, like drinks and other food.
The worker ants try to gather as much food as possible all the time. The queen demands a lot of food. It also has to be enough to feed the whole colony.
Thus, the worker ants are the hardest working ants in the colony as they relentlessly work to find food. They even protect the entire colony.
What Do Ants Use Food or Water For?
Ants have two main uses for food: eating and feeding their larvae. Insects relentlessly gather food for the survival f their colony.
Ants that live on high trees or rocks are more energetic than those living on the ground. Thus, they do not need as much food or water as they have a continuous moisture supply around them.
Foods provide essential vitamins and proteins. These are necessary for the ants to become healthy for significant activities like reproduction.
Ants need food to survive, and the most common practice for ants is to eat foods rich in proteins and vitamins. Ants will store unused extra food in chambers known as granaries.
The larvae are allotted aphids and sugar to give them enough energy for growth. Without this nourishment, the larvae will die as they cannot live on their own before adulthood, that is, before hundred days.
When the ant colony runs out of food, the queen is forced to live off her fat reserves. Eventually, she will lay unfertilized eggs that will turn into males.
Hence, in conclusion, the question of how long can ants go without food, ants can go without food for a long time. They have been known to survive for up to two years without food. However, they will eventually die if they do not have access to food.
They cannot live for long abstaining from food and water consumption. As mentioned earlier, ants need food for eating, and the young larvae can survive for four to ten days without it. They need water for hydration and energy restoration like any other organism and can live for about a week or two without it.