The Queen

The queens are bigger than the workers and the drones. The queens produce particular pheromones, (which are special secreted substances with special smells), that makes the whole colony work and keep together. Each colony has its distinct smell, and all the members of the same colony smell similar.

The other main function of a queen is to lay the fertilized eggs, millions of eggs. We could say that the queen is the mother of all the ants in the colony.

She can live up to 15 years and needs to mate only once. The mating takes place in the air shortly after the queen breaks free from her cocoon. After the mating takes place, she rips off her wings and looks for an appropriate place to start the new colony. She does not need the wings in her nest underground. She may pass many weeks, and even months, without food. She has to take care of the first batch of eggs and larvae. Once the first ants come out of their cocoons, they start gathering food and doing all the chores around the nest.  From there on, the queen is taken care of, and becomes a prisoner of her duty.

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