How Many Ants Are In A Colony? Normal & Supercolony Size

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You must have seen ant colonies at some point in life, but have you ever wondered how many ants are in a colony? Let us find out.

There’s a lot we don’t know about ants, and this is especially true when it comes to their colonies. In fact, the number of ants in a colony is one of the things that scientists still don’t agree on.

Some say that there are around 20 million ants in a single colony, while others say that colonies can contain up to 1 million ants. However, the average colony size is usually somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 ants.

What’s an ant colony?

An ant colony is a physical place where ants live and work together. Ant colonies can be very large, with millions of ants, or they can be small, with only a few hundred ants.

There are two types of ant colonies- normal colonies and supercolonies. A normal colony is defined as a group of ants that are all related to each other (they share a queen).

How Many Ants Are In A Colony? Normal & Supercolony Size

On the other hand, a supercolony is defined as a group of ants that are not all related to each other (they don’t share a queen). Supercolonies are usually much larger than normal colonies.

An ant colony is a bunch of ants that live and work together. They are related because they share a pheromone scent, which allows them to communicate with each other.

There is one more kind of ant colony known as a Giant colony. However, it is rare. Giant colonies are made up of very large ants that can weigh up to 2 grams.

These ants do not have a king or queen- the largest ant in the colony reproduces the most offspring.

Different ant colonies can and will engage in battle against each other for territory and food sources, and for no reason at all other than having crossed paths.

How many ants are in a colony?

The size of an ant colony can vary a lot, depending on the species of ants, the age of the colony, and the weather. Some colonies can have as few as ten ants, while others can have up to 1 million ants.

The average colony size is around 500-1,000 ants. However, some ant species have supercolonies that can contain up to 100 million ants.

On the whole, there are over 12000 ant species in the world, and most colonies have between 10000 and 50000 ants. However, a few supercolonies can boast up to millions of ants.

It was recently discovered that ants do not just live in colonies of a few hundred or so, but rather in mega colonies made up of many smaller colonies working together. These mega colonies can have over a million ants and span across continents.

What’s the biggest ant colony in the world?

termite hill colony, made of red sand

The biggest ant colony in the world is made up of millions of Argentine ants. This supercolony happens because Argentine ants help each other, regardless of their colony of birth.

Interestingly, the largest ant colony in the world is found in southern Europe. This supercolony has over 33 ant populations and millions of nests. The ants cooperate to survive and thrive, sharing resources and working together to protect their territory.

Do all ants live in colonies?

Not all ants live in colonies. Queens leave their colonies to start new ones and lead their species.

In general, ants live in colonies. However, there are some exceptions. For example, when an ant finds food, it will leave the colony to consume the meal and then return. And if an ant encounters another food source while it’s away from the colony, it might start a new colony.

Can an ant survive by itself?

Red wood ants run around on the anthill.

Ants are social insects whose primary purpose is to live within a colony. They are able to survive by themselves, but they will not be as successful as they would be when living in a colony.

If an ant gets lost from its colony, it has two options: find its old colony or risk finding a new one. If it’s able to find its old colony, it will be accepted back and resume its duties.

However, if it can’t find its old colony or if there is no longer one present, the ant will start a new one by laying down some pheromones for other ants to follow.

Most ants will not move very far away from their colony because they are reliant on their nestmates to survive. If they get lost, they can usually find their way back home by following the pheromone trails that other ants leave behind.

How do ant colonies work?

Ant colonies are fascinating structures that are composed of many different types of ants. The most essential ant in the colony is the queen, and she is responsible for laying eggs and maintaining the colony.

Without a queen, the colony will soon cease to exist. Besides the queen, there are other ants who serve a distinct purpose within the colony.

Male ants live a short life, one where the only purpose is to reproduce, soon followed by death – most males live for less than a month.

Female ants are born sterile and are better known as “worker ants.” Worker ants make up the majority of an ant colony and are responsible for tasks such as gathering food, caring for larvae, and constructing tunnels.

Worker ants are responsible for a variety of duties in order to keep the colony running. They may lay eggs and larvae, dig tunnels to expand the colony or even leave it altogether to find food for everyone to eat.

How long can ant colonies last?

Fire ants colony, fire ants

A queen ant is necessary for the survival of an ant colony. She lays eggs and controls the activities of the colony. If a queen dies, the colony will usually die off within a few months.

However, if there is more than one queen in a colony, it can last indefinitely. In some cases, ant colonies can get so large that they are considered supercolonies.

The answer to “How many ants are in a colony?” is not as straightforward as one might think. Ant colonies can last indefinitely as long as the queen is healthy and producing eggs.

If the queen dies, the workers will try to find another one, and the colony will die out if they’re unsuccessful. In certain cases, such as when there’s a fire or other disaster, the queen may be replaced, but finding her may be hard.

Interestingly, ant colonies will also experience a natural die-off during the winter months. However, if the colony is healthy and has enough food resources, it can rebuild its numbers in the spring.

A large supercolony can contain over one million ants, making them a formidable force to be reckoned with!

Does the number of ants in colonies change over winter?

Ant colonies go through changes in size over the winter. Some ants will hibernate, and some will go into hiding.

While there may be some fluctuations, the overall number of ants in a colony does not generally change.


Ants are unique species that interact with each other in all ecosystems around the world. They are incredibly important in terms of their ecological impact and can be found almost anywhere around the world.

There are different types of ant colonies, including normal colonies and supercolonies, which can have from a dozen ants in them to millions.

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.