UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page


SKIP navigation


How to Manage Pests

Key to Identifying Common Household Ants

Red imported fire ant

Queen, workers, eggs, and larvae

Colony propagation

After colonies are 1 year old, they begin to produce winged reproductive forms. The reproductives seek out new colony locations during the 6-8 mating flights that occur between spring and fall. These flights usually occur in afternoons after a rainy period when the weather is warm enough. After mating, the fertilized queen sheds her wings and begins building a new colony, and the male dies. Colonies may also propagate by budding where a group of workers leave an existing colony with larvae, pupae, and occasionally queens to establish a new colony. Colonies have multiple queens and may join together to form supercolonies or split into 2 or more colonies. The colonies are very mobile; each one moves at least once every 6 months as a result of extremely wet or dry weather or as a response to an ineffective insecticide treatment. In the hot, dry summer months, colonies may move close to buildings and homes and forage indoors. The peak time for activity is from April through December. There is not much activity January through March.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /TOOLS/ANTKEY/rifabio.html revised: July 10, 2014. Contact webmaster.