Queen ants live remarkable lives from their nuptial flight through to colony formation and upkeep. Through careful observation, patient handling, and responsible care you can safely attract a queen ant out of her nest to observe it and her colony at close quarters.
Start by baiting ant trails. Be sure to monitor and change out your bait regularly for maximum effectiveness.
Displace the Soil
Trapping or moving a queen ant can be an intricate and time-consuming task, taking patience and care. Your goal should be to capture her without permanently disrupting the colony and return her as soon as possible so she can resume playing an essential role within it.
Thief ants are known for nesting in logs and decayed wood, often only revealed when shifting small piles of wood or twigs around. A light dusting with flour, cornmeal or baking soda should do the trick as well. You could also try baiting worker ants to capture their queen for closer examination as well as collecting scientific data about her.
Once a queen ant has successfully reproduced, she leaves her nest for its nuptial flight in search of an appropriate site for a new colony. Now is an opportune time to capture her; but this requires understanding ant behavior as well as being in the right place at the right time.
Search for her wandering aimlessly, unlike her worker ants who typically remain within one location. Queen ants will change direction frequently as they search for the ideal location to start a colony – like lost tourists exploring new cities! As they investigate an area, queen ants often fold or pull off their wings to make themselves less conspicuous while exploring.
Place a Piece of Food
As soon as a newly mated queen is ready to embark on her nuptial flight, she will depart her nest in search of new nest sites. This presents an ideal opportunity to capture her, though doing so requires understanding her behavior and careful preparation.
Queen ants tend to fly into water sources such as pools or ponds, although you might also spot them near blacklights; this behavior is especially typical among invasive species like fire ants, who often shed their wings before flying toward an artificial light source instead of returning home to their colonies.
Assuring the queen ant of her nest by placing food near its entrance can help lure it out. An apple or pear slice works well. Sugar water solutions may also work, although remember they will quickly ferment unless kept fresh!
The easiest and quickest method is to pour boiling water directly over their nest or use a torch to heat the soil, which will destroy their tunnels and kill any ants who come in contact with it. Make sure to have shovels and five-gallon buckets handy as this process requires digging up much soil; some ant colonies contain multiple chambers which could require you to displace all or part of their colony altogether.
Disrupt the Caste System
Ant colonies contain various castes, with the queen serving as the highest ranking member. She stands out by being at least twice the size of worker ants that you might see running along ant trails or foraging inside your home, making her easy to identify due to her distinct size and shiny coloration.
Queen ants play an essential role in populating and maintaining their colonies. She will mate with male ants to produce offspring, but her main duties consist of feeding her young and maintaining their nest – without them an ant colony would cease to exist.
At certain points in the year, queen ants leave their original colonies to establish new ones – this presents an excellent opportunity for you to capture and transport them to an ant farm. Nuptial flights involve newly-mated queens departing their natal colonies in search of somewhere they can establish their own colonies.
After mating, queen ants lose their wings and develop thicker abdomens; additionally they will possess a unique scent that differentiates them from the other ants.
Once you have captured a queen ant, provide it with ample food and water in a secure container. Monitor her closely for signs of stress or failure such as reduced egg-laying capacity; if any such issues arises, consider re-establishing her in another environment.
Kill the Queen
Luring and killing queen ants are vital steps in controlling an ant infestation. Once their egg production stops, egg production stops as well, leading to their reduced numbers on your property. By carefully locating and using targeted baits to lure and kill these queen ants, you can dramatically decrease the ant population on your property.
Queen ant is easy to spot as they tend to be larger than other ants and possess wings on their body. She will also have thicker thorax (the middle section) than other workers or drones; some people use blacklight to illuminate her wings more easily so as to distinguish her from workers and drones.
Some people attempt to capture queen ants during their nuptial flights. This can be challenging since these insects often remain hidden and move off after mating has taken place. If you do manage to spot one during this time, be sure to use gentle tools in order to capture it as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Other people attempt to flood ant mounds, but this approach can be risky as it’s not always 100% effective and could actually kill off all the ants inside them. An alternative solution would be placing a food excluder outside the entry point to an ant mound; this allows worker ants to pass through while trapping any queen ants within.