Killing the ant queen and destroying the ant colony are vital processes for getting rid of an ant infestation outdoors and indoors.
When the queen ant dies, the population of the ant colonies starts to decline. And over time, the colony ends.
So, in this short guide, you’ll find out how to kill the queen ant by precisely locating the ant nest.
You’ll learn the easiest tricks to eliminate the queen ant, which will drastically help eliminate the ant problem on your property.
What Is A Queen Ant?
A queen ant is a singular female whose main job is to lay eggs and increase the colony’s population.
Ant colonies have castes, which is a classification of labor among ants. And the highest caste in the ant colony is the queen.
The worker ants serve the queen. The ants you see moving in ant trails, or foraging inside your house, are the worker ants.
The worker ants’ primary job is to scavenge for food, find food sources and nesting sites, expand the colony, feed the ant larvae in the nests, and, most importantly, feed the queen ant.
The queen ant is the biggest in the colony. Here size is at least twice the size of the worker ants.
And she’s easily noticeable with her shiny color and big abdomen.
How Many Queens And Worker Ants Are In An Ant Colony?
One ant colony or ant nest has one queen ant. But the colony’s size and the ant species also determine how many queens will be in a colony.
For example, red fire ant colonies outdoors are huge. And one fire ant colony in your yard can have more than 100,000 red fire ants.
So, 100,000 fire ants can’t have one queen. Multiple queens in a huge colony lay eggs and increase the ant numbers.
Some ant species, like the pavement ants, carpenter ants, and pharaoh ant colonies, have satellite nests.
These satellite nests are a network of ant colonies that caters to the main nest.
These satellite nests can have a queen. So, the entire colony with multiple satellite nests can have more than one queen.
The other ants use the satellite nest to store food and eggs that the main central nest can’t hold. It is evident when the ants carry the pearly white eggs in trails.
Another point to note is that there are no male ants in the ant colonies. The worker ants are sterile female ants.
The male ants are winged ants that leave their colonies to mate with winged female reproductive ants. After mating with the females, the male ants die.
How To Find Ant Nest?
It’s vital to find the ant nest or colony before you can find the queen ant.
And it can be tricky to find an ant nest, especially when there are multiple satellite nests in your home or yard.
However, the hack to find an ant nest is identifying the species infesting your property.
Depending on the ant species, you can zero in on the places where ants can build their nests.
But don’t stress. You don’t have to know all the thousands of ants species that are active in the US.
You’ll only need a few because most house ant species share the same nesting sites.
The most common ant species that invade homes are carpenter ants, pavement ants, and sugar ants.
In the outdoors, carpenter ants build their nests in rotting wood pieces and tree stumps. These ants are woodboring ants that target decaying wood.
Inside the house, the carpenter ants will build nests in damp walls, floors, and moist wood pieces in places like the bathroom and basement.
You can detect the presence of a carpenter ant colony by the sawdust these carpenter ants eject while they bore into the wood.
When they nest in the walls and the floors, you’ll also notice dust underneath the holes in these places.
Physical sightings of worker carpenter ants around the nesting site will also alert you about the nest’s presence.
Pavement ants primarily build their nests in the cracks in the concrete, pavement, walls, floors, and sidewalks. That’s why they’re also known as concrete ants.
Their nest is evident by the dust around the cracks in these places.
Sugar ants, which is a term for all the tiny house ants like odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, and acrobat ants, are the ants that primarily nest near food and water sources.
So, places like your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and basement are their primary targets for building their nests.
But sugar ant infestation in the house always begins in your kitchen because your kitchen provides the nutrition and moisture they need to survive.
Any thin crack or tiny hole in the kitchen furniture, wall, floor, and kitchen storage can be their nesting grounds.
The crevices that develop on the walls underneath kitchen sinks are their favorite place because it also provides them with the dampness they desperately need to survive.
When the number of ants in the colony expands, ants from the kitchen spill over to other areas of your home even though there’s no food source.
So, these ants will start building their nests in places like the bathroom, laundry room, and even your bedroom.
That’s how ants infest an entire house or apartment.
Secondly, most ant species move in trails. Following the ant trail will lead you to their nests.
Most of the time, the ant trails end in a tiny hole or crack surrounded by dust. That hole is the entry point for the ant into their nest. And inside the nest, there’s a queen ant.
However, some ant species don’t move in trails.
How To Kill The Queen Ant?
Now that you know where the queen is, it’s time to kill her and eliminate the infestation.
But you’ll need to be a bit tactical about it. Below are the ways to kill the queen ant both indoors and outdoors.
Dig Up The Nest And Use An Ant Spray To Kill The Ant Queen
The most straightforward way to kill the ant queen is to dig up the ant nest and spray ant spray in the nest to kill the ant larvae, worker ants, and the queen ant.
However, there’s a catch.
Most ant nests are in the form of interconnected tunnels that run deep. So, while you’re digging, the queen ant and many worker ants will use the tunnels to escape.
This method will work if the ant colony has just started or when it’s small.
Also, don’t ever try to dig a fire ant nest. You’ll find out why in a minute. But before that, let’s move on to another way of killing the ant queen.
Use Ant Baits To Kill The Ant Queen And The Entire Ant Colony
Using ant baits or ant traps is the easiest way to kill the ant queen, and the entire ant colony, without much effort.
But you’ll have to use the ant baits in places where they can have the maximum effect.
So, keep the ant baits where you’ve noticed ant activity, like ant trails, random ants scavenging for food, and near the ant nest.
The ant baits are poisonous. They lure the ants into eating them. And many ants take the ant baits back to their colonies to feed the ant larvae and the ant queen.
All the ants that consume the ant bait die.
It’ll be best to use liquid bait that comes in the gel form.
Put a few drops of ant gel bait stations where you’ve noticed ant activity. And leave the bait overnight.
But to make the ant baits work, you’ll need to use the baits daily till you notice a reduction in ant activity in your house.
Also, cleaning the house, especially the kitchen, and using insecticide sprays, will immensely help eliminate the infestation.
You can also use a DIY homemade ant bait by mixing borax or diatomaceous earth with something sweet like sugar or candy. You can also mix them with protein-rich, greasy food like a piece of meat.
Keep the bait at places with ant activity or near the ant nest.
The sugary and protein stuff will attract the ants. And they’ll eat it and take the food back to their nest.
But borax and diatomaceous earth are desiccants that kill ants slowly from the inside. So, if the queen ant consumes the bait, she will die too.
Pour Boiling Water In The Ant Nest
Boiling water is a no-brainer ant killer. And it’s useful to kill the ant queen and eliminate the ant colony in your yard.
Make the hole on the ant nest a bit big by poking into it. And pour boiling water into the ant nest.
It’ll be best to pour the boiling water from a bottle with a nozzle so that the hot water doesn’t spill over on the sides and enters the nest.
To add more punch, you can add a bit of bleach or dish soap to the hot water.
Hire A Pest Controller
When everything fails, you can hire a reliable pest control professional who will spot the ant nests and eliminate the infestation by killing the queen and destroying the nest.
A professional exterminator becomes necessary when a severe ant infestation is on your property. Too many satellite nests and a large ant colony can make the DIY ways of spotting and killing the ant queen difficult.
And it can be risky for you, especially when you’re dealing with red fire ants.
The red fire ants are extremely aggressive and defend their queen and colony with all they have.
Fire ants attack in droves when they detect any threat to their nest. So, if you’re keeping an ant bait or digging up their ant hills to kill the queen ant, the worker fire ants will attack you.
Fire ants sting and bite at the same time. And their stings and bites are very painful and itchy.
So, at times, it’s always a wise decision to hire a professional to neutralize the queen ant.
How To Lure A Queen Ant Out Of Its Nest?
You can’t lure the queen ant out of its nest. It’s impossible because the queen ant never leaves the nest.
She always tends to the larvae and keeps laying eggs. The worker ants feed her, so she doesn’t need to leave the nest scavenging for food.
Even if you use ant baits, the queen won’t come out. It’s because the worker ants will carry the ant bait to the queen ant to feed her.
If you destroy the nest, you might notice the biggest ant in the nest trying to escape. It’s the queen ant.
What Happens If You Kill The Queen Ant?
When the queen ant dies, egg production ceases. The population of the worker ants dwindles.
Given the few weeks of the lifespan of worker ants, the colony perishes.
The worker ants continue to tend to their duties in the absence of the queen ant. However, the ant colony dies off because of the few weeks of the lifespan of most species of worker ants.
However, the ant species, such as the carpenter ants and pavement ants, which build satellite nests, continue to survive despite killing a queen ant.
The queen ant from other satellite nests can occupy the colony with the missing queen ant and start repopulating that colony.
That’s why it’s essential to destroy nests and all the queens of the satellite nests. The queens live the longest in the colony to produce more ants.
A queen ant’s lifespan can be of 2-3 years.
Can Worker Ants Kill The Queen Ant?
Researchers have found that power struggles can break out in large ant colonies with multiple queens.
One of the queens can produce more eggs than the rest in the nest.
And the worker ants of that queen can kill other queens, enabling the queen that produces the largest number of eggs to take over the entire colony.
Researchers have also found that some queen ants can act selfishly to protect themselves from worker ants. The queen ants will reduce egg production, which will lead to a lesser number of worker ants.
Using ant sprays on the nest, keeping ant baits, boiling water, and, if everything fails, hiring a pest control company are the four ways to kill the queen ant and ant colony.
To eliminate an infestation, getting rid of only the foraging ants won’t work. It’s also essential to eliminate the queen ants and their nests.
This guide revealed why it’s vital to kill all the queens and destroy ant colonies to eliminate ant infestations inside and outside the house.
You’ve also found out how to identify the queen ant and how to find the queen ant by locating the ant nest.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.