Fire Ant Life Cycle

The life cycle of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) resembles that of most ant species—the first stage is the egg. This stage is followed in turn by the larva, the pupae and finally the adult ant. However, the fire ant life cycle occurs on two levels: the lives of individual ants, described above, and the life of the colony.

Fire Ant Colony

The Queen & Reproduction

After fertilization, a new queen lays approximately a dozen eggs, which hatch within seven to 10 days. The queen feeds and cares for the immature ants until they become adults, which generally occurs within 20 to 25 days of the eggs hatching. These new workers begin to forage for food and to care for their queen. Red fire ant colonies have been known to harbor multiple queens.

Because a well-fed queen may lay up to 1,500 eggs per day, the colony's population grows rapidly. To accommodate this growth, workers build an elaborate network of galleries and chambers, which act as both nurseries and living space for adult ants. When one mound reaches maximum capacity, queens have been known to move out of the colony with a group of workers to establish new colonies close by.

As the population expands, the mounds grow as well. Fire ant mounds average two feet in diameter and are approximately 18 inches high. Fire ant mounds serve to regulate underground temperatures. The ants move up and down in the galleries as the temperature changes.

In ideal conditions, queens have been known to live up to seven years. The average life span of a worker ant is five weeks.

Other Common Fire Ant Control Methods

  • Orange Oil and Fire Ant Control

  • Fire Ants and Boric Acid

  • Fire Ant Predators: Enemies and Killers

Fire Ants & Humans

Biology & Habitat

Types of Fire Ants

Resources

Dig Deeper on Fire Ants

Black Fire Ants

Fire Ants and Pet Food

Fire Ants and Boric Acid

Species of Fire Ants in the United States

Fire Ant Predators: Enemies and Killers

How to Identify and Treat Fire Ant Bites | Orkin

Fire Ant Anatomy

Fire Ant Identification: What Does a Fire Ant Look Like?

Connect with Us

Our customer care team is available for you 24 hours a day.

877-819-5061

Find a Branch

Our local technicians are the pest experts in your area.

Get a Personalized Quote

We will help you find the right treatment plan for your home.

Home is where the bugs aren't™

SERVICES

Pest ControlTermite ControlPrevent and Protect

PEST LIBRARY

Browse All Pests

© 2021 Orkin LLC

Terms of UsePrivacyAccessibility StatementCareers