Various ant colonies in Murrieta can pop up at any time, and they can cause some pretty expensive damage to your home. While there are more than 12,000 different species of ants in the world, there are specific species that call Murrieta home and love to build colonies around town.
This article discusses exactly what ant colonies are, how they are structured, and the most common types of ants that build colonies in the Murrieta area.
Ant Colonies In Murrieta: What Are They?
We use the term ant colony to describe where ants live and the rules they live by. Just like Murrieta, certain people have specific jobs. The same can be said for an ant colony!
Most likely, you've seen an anthill before. Many mistake an anthill for the colony; however, this hill is simply the front door to the home. Ants enter and exit the colony from the anthill. Ants form the mound from all the digging and tunneling they do to carve out the colony underground. Some ant colonies can go as deep as 25 feet under the surface!
The Social Order Of An Ant Colony
Every ant has a role and function in the colony. The structure of an ant colony can change slightly based on the species, but there are typically four different types of ants: the queen, the drones, the workers, and the reproductives.
Everyone is pretty familiar with the role and responsibility of the colony queen: reproduce! She is the leader of the colony and can produce thousands of eggs in a single day. Depending on the species of ants, the queen can live for a few years or even up to 30 years.
The primary duty of the drones is to mate with the queen so she can continuously produce eggs. All drones are males, and as soon as they fulfill their responsibility, they die. You will probably never see a drone ant because they never leave the colony.
All female ants are workers. They have essential responsibilities, such as building, maintaining, and protecting the colony, and finding food. As you can imagine, with such vital responsibilities, worker ants are constantly on the move. In addition, they find food for the colony and forage and allocate food for the queen's offspring.
When the queen feels the colony can’t grow anymore, she will lay eggs that will hatch winged ants. These ants can be either male or female. Their primary responsibility is to leave the colony to establish new ones.
How Long Does An Ant Colony Last?
How long an ant colony lasts can vary based on the ant species. Some can last for a few years, while others usually last as long as the queen lives, so you could be looking at anywhere from 20-30 years.
How Many Ants Live In A Colony?
This number also depends on the species of ants. But on average, you can expect anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 ants. Some ant species, such as fire ants, can even grow into supercolonies of multiple networks of nests, queens, and workers spanning miles.
What Kind Of Ants Colonies Are In Murrieta?
We focus on the most common ant species in Murrieta: carpenter ants, Argentine ants, and harvester ants.
Murrieta is home to one of the worst ant pests, carpenter ants. Once carpenter ants establish a colony in a cozy, damp wooden structure, they could stay there for anywhere up to five years. These ants get their name because they love to build colonies in wood structures, which can cause expensive damage to your structures.
You can usually find carpenter ant colonies in Murrieta around decaying wood, especially windows, chimneys, and wall voids. They can also be found around trees, especially if there is a perfect opening or hole. Many think carpenter ants love wood because they eat it. They actually don't; they just love tunneling and chewing on damp wood!
Carpenter ant colonies tend to be smaller, and the populations grow gradually over time. Additionally, a carpenter ant colony usually has just one queen, and there is a parent colony and a satellite colony. The parent colony has the queen and workers, while the satellite colony has fewer workers and some 'teenage' ants waiting to reach adulthood.
Argentine ants are also prevalent in Murrieta. These ants are a little bit more versatile than carpenter ants because they can build colonies anywhere, though they prefer moist soil next to buildings, sidewalks, and under boards. Building colonies in mulch, logs, under shrubs, and trees are also some favorite locations. They can also eat practically anything, but they especially love the sweet stuff.
An Argentine ant colony is vast and can even develop into a supercolony because one colony can have multiple queens, each laying around 60 eggs every day. And instead of a queen producing winged reproductives that would fly off to establish a new colony, Argentine ant reproductives actually stay and mate within the colony. Plus, the queen can leave the colony and travel to another location to set up a new one.
Male Argentine ants face the same fate as other ant species. As soon as the male mates with one of the queens, he dies soon after.
Harvester ants love to build colonies in dry soils, also making Murrieta a perfect location. You can usually find a harvester ant colony by locating the entrance, which looks like a small crater in the middle of a slight mound surrounded by rocks. You may also notice a lack of grass or other plants around the entrance. They usually seal the entrance at night and reopen it in the morning.
These colonies can last anywhere from 14-50 years and can have up to 10,000 workers! There is usually one queen per colony, and she will produce winged reproductives that will fly away and mate to establish new colonies.
Call Local Bug Guy For Ant Colonies in Murrieta
If you suspect an ant colony near your Murrieta home, or if you’re starting to see ants inching across your kitchen floor, call your Local Bug Guy. We train our techs to wrangle carpenter, Argentine, and harvester ants in Murietta and the surrounding area.