Combat

Pest Identification

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Are There Ant Kings

Ants are like most insect species—males are only good for one thing. And it has nothing to do with football. When a queen needs to mate she flies into the air with her temporary wings and releases pheromones to attract male ants. In a scene reminiscent of Game of Thrones the crazed male ants mercilessly rip and shred one another for a chance to get busy with their fertile queen. After a fierce moment of sex, the male’s penis explodes inside the queen and he falls to the ground and quickly dies. The queen is now permanently equipped to fertilize her millions of eggs.

Throughout her lifetime, which can be more than a decade, the queen will mostly produce sterile female workers. When the queen senses that the colony needs to expand, she can decide to produce fertile winged females. These critters will take to the air all at once on what is often called flying ant day. The queen will also produce those hapless fertile males with the detonating genitalia.

That is no life for a king and that’s why there are no king ants. The species is all about survival and after millions of years ants have succeeded in colonizing every continent except, in a semantic irony, Antarctica. Within those billions of ant colonies, efficiency is the rule. Females work and never think about reproduction. Queens lay eggs with only the survival of the colony in mind. And males are hatched to do their duty for the queen and colony before falling down dead.

Mother Nature might have created kings to expand human colonies on earth but underground it is the queens who rule. Unless a male ant can figure out a way to produce massive colonies and expand ant populations all over the world, the boys are going to remain peons and no ant will ever say “Hail the king!”