The Ant Life Cycle

The ant life cycle has five stages…

  • Nuptial flight (flying ants land and mate)
  • Egg (small oval shaped eggs)
  • Larva (grow in size as they are fed by adult ants – look like rice)
  • Pupa (silk-like cocoon – ant body takes shape inside)
  • Adult (ant)

The whole process can take 8-10 weeks in warmer climates and much longer in colder climates.

*The winged ants you see in the spring or summer are at the beginning of this cycle. The nuptial flight is when queens and males fly from the nest and then mate. When they land the female ant loses her wings and looks for a safe place to lay her fertilized eggs (start a new colony), the male ant dies. has a great depiction of how the cycle works.


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  1. Faylinn says:

    Yesterday, I found ants flying around and they were connected to each other. I thought that they were fighting, and so I find it interesting to learn that they were actually in a nuptial flight. How long after ants do that will eggs be laid?

    • Mike Benny says:

      Hi Faylinn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      After the nuptial flight, the female looks for a safe place to lay her fertilized eggs. This can take a few hours or days, depending on the climate and surroundings.

      Also, I see you have included the URL for an extermination company, if you submit their details here, we can add them to our list of “experts”.

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