Ant queens: January 2011 Archives

If and when an ant is moved from one colony to another is it rejected in the new colony? Or it could be taken by other worker ants and brought to the queen ant for decisions. Or does the ant just fit in into the new colony. (Anthony)

Hi Anthony,

Thank you very much for contacting us at AntAsk! This question is not that easy to answer as ants are highly diverse. There are more than 12,500 described ant species to date and many more awaiting description. Each species has a distinct biology and many differ in their response towards an ant which belongs to a different colony. I would say that in the majority of cases, an intruder would be killed by the workers of the resident colony. However, if the intruder is from a colony that is closely related to the new colony, then the workers might not be able to recognize it as foreign and it could sneak in. There are a few ant species, which would accept an ant from a different colony. These ants usually are more primitive in their social organization. Please also read this post. The queen does not take part in the decision process, her job is to lay eggs and to produce pheromones (chemicals), which signalize her dominance over the workers regarding reproduction. The workers perform the task that also involve nest defense against ants from other colonies.

All the best,
Steffi Kautz & the AntAsk Team