How do I know if my queen ant is fertilized? (Teodora, Romania)


A friend of mine got me an ant queen as I wanted to start a colony, but I don't know if she is fertilized. When I got her, a male was still with her in the little package, but then I put her in the gel ant farm and she's looking for a way to escape (in a calm way, though), she still hasn't shed her wings and she keeps picking her abdomen, is this a typical behavior? Shouldn't she be glad she found a safe place and start her nest? How do they act after insemination? When exactly do they shed their wings?
Can I determine if she's still a virgin by looking at her abdomen with a magnifying glass? If yes, how should this look like?

Teodora, Romania

Hi Teodora,

Thanks a lot for your question! Without dissecting and killing the ant, it is not possible to tell whether your ant queen is inseminated. Usually, ant queens shed their wings when they are inseminated and ready to lay eggs and start a new colony. Check out these posts on ant matings: here, here, and here. The reason for your ant to be not settling might indeed be that she is not inseminated or simply that it is not the right habitat for her. So you can only wait to see whether she makes it. I would try to get several queens and keep them in separate containers and observe whether one will actually start laying eggs. Alternatively, you could keep just a bunch of workers in your ant farm. However, these do not reproduce and once they die, you can replace them with new workers. Check out this post on how to make some containers without having to buy an entire ant farm.

Hope this helps!
Steffi Kautz & the AntAsk Team

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