You might think nothing of it if you see a few stray ants in your house. But where there are ants, there is an ant colony nearby as the ants you see are likely foragers and are looking for food to take back to the colony.
Ants may seem like more of a minor nuisance than a major pest. However, the truth of the matter is that — depending on the species — these tiny little insects can do some structural damage to your home and contaminate your food.
Learn about ant eggs and what to do if you find ants.
What Do Ant Eggs Look Like?
Ant eggs are small and about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. They're usually white or cream colored and a bit oval shaped.
How many ants are in an egg? Just one. However, depending on the species, a queen can lay up to 300,000 ant eggs each day. Fertilized eggs become females and unfertilized eggs become males.
If you see ants carrying something that looks white, it's likely a pupae and not an egg.
How Long Does It Take for Ant Eggs to Hatch?
As with all things, the timing varies based on species and environment. However, ant eggs typically hatch within one to two weeks of being laid.
What Happens After an Ant Egg Hatches?
The next stage of the ant life cycle is ant larvae. These are a transparent white and don't have legs. Larvae grow quickly and molt several times throughout this stage.
Once the larvae are large enough, they metamorphosize into pupae. Larvae transition into pupae in about 6 to 12 days. But again, this timeline hinges on species and environmental factors. Ant pupae more closely resemble their adult counterparts, though they start out a pale whitish color that darkens over time.
In some species, pupae spin cocoons around themselves for protection, while in others, the pupae remain uncovered throughout this stage of the life cycle. The ants remain in pupae stage for about 9 to 30 days, during which time they metamorphosize into adults.
When the adult ants emerge, they are full grown. Because they have a hard exoskeleton, they won't be able to grow any larger. Adult ants may, however, start out lighter in color, but in time, they will darken to be nearly identical to one another.
Each adult ant belongs to one of three castes: queens, female workers or males. In most species, a colony has only one ant queen, so these new queens will mate and create a new colony. At this point, the life cycle begins again. (And, actually, it never stops, because some portion of the ant life cycle is taking place at any given time.)
From ant eggs to adulthood, this full life cycle takes anywhere from several weeks to months (always being mindful of the fact that this can vary based on species and environmental conditions).
How Do You Kill Ant Eggs and Their Colonies?
Most DIY products aren't going to be able to penetrate an ant egg shell. However, you don't need to worry about killing ants eggs as long as you've effectively taken care of removing the actual ants in your home.
There are numerous traps, sprays and other elimination methods on the market, along with a seemingly endless list of DIY remedies for killing ants. Here's the catch: There are more than 12,000 known ant species in the world, and each has its own nesting and reproduction habits. In addition, they all respond differently to pest control methods. Some ant species are fine to handle on your own, while others will be a lot more difficult. That's why it's important to know ant biology.
When in doubt, we're here to help. The ant control professionals at Terminix® are trained in identifying and treating ant infestations. Get started today with a free quote.