How to Get Queen Ant Out of its Nest? 6 Easy Methods (2023)

Queen ants have a significant role in an ant colony as these are responsible for its survival. You cannot get them easily because workers and soldiers are protecting them.

How to Get Queen Ant Out of its Nest? You can get a queen out of its nest by using a vacuum cleaner, increasing the temperature with hair dryers, using a plunger, shovel, tweezers, and flooding the nest with cold water.

Queens live deep inside the tunnel as these rarely come out of the nest. You have to wait for the warm weather to catch them when they come out of the nest for mating.


  • 1 How do you get a queen ant out of her nest?
    • 1.1 Blowing of nests
    • 1.2 Sift soil by shovel
    • 1.3 Use sweet food
    • 1.4 Make use of a plunger
    • 1.5 Flooding of the ant nest
    • 1.6 Increase temperature
  • 2 Why would you get a queen out of its nest?
  • 3 How to catch a queen ant without killing it?

How do you get a queen ant out of her nest?

It is a little bit challenging to get a queen out of the nest as it remains deep in the tunnel and comes out of the nest occasionally.

Blowing of nests

You can use a vacuum cleaner to blow an ant nest to get the queen out of it. It is better to put a cardboard piece on the entry points when you are going to blow them out.

After that, place an excluder that allows workers to leave but captures large size insects. Turn on the vacuum cleaner, set it to the lowest suction, and bring it close to the entry point of the ant mound.

Moreover, it helps create a vacuum and force her to come out as it produces an uncomfortable environment for the insects living under plant twigs and wooden logs.

They begin to move to a safe place and leave their old habitat. The excluder will capture the queen ant and allows smaller ants to pass through it.

It helps isolate the mother ant quickly as you have to suffocate these insects, which can cause discomfort and force them to get escape from the uncomfortable place.

Furthermore, you can hold a vacuum cleaner on the opening of the nest and turn it on after removing an attachment; it will help in sucking her large body but slowly.

Sift soil by shovel

The ant mounds can be clearly seen on the ground surface, having a single entry point, but it is not possible to imagine the surface covered by these tiny insects under the ground.

You can use a shovel to sift the soil slowly when finding a queen in the colony. However, it is better not to interfere with the dangerous insects known for deadly stings.

However, you have to wear gloves and cover the exposed areas of your body when sifting the soil, as they can quickly reach your body and sting the skin.

Keep displacing soil until you find a large-winged female moving around the nest. Sometimes, you can find them moving close to the opening when the weather is suitable for their flight.

Use sweet food

You probably have some idea about the caste system in a colony based on workers, queens, males, and larvae, where every individual ant knows its function.

The workers go out of the nest to forage for food while the queen ant remains inside. You can place a piece of food that can preferably be a sweet juicy fruit that attracts workers toward it.

Moreover, the tiny foraging ants begin to move towards a food source, leaving their mother behind in the colony, which makes it easy to remove her from the mound.

It is easy to identify queen ants within a large colony as most of the workers will get attracted to a food source.

Make use of a plunger

The plunger has a suction cup at the end of the rod to help make ants leave their nest, including the larger queen. You have to put it on the entry points of mounds and push it down with good force.

Avoid quick pressing of the plunger, as slow pressing can help in better air displacement. In addition, these tiny insects move out of the mounds, and workers will carry their mother to leave.

It is difficult to cause discomfort for her as these live deep inside the tunnel and remain inside most of the time.

Accordingly, high displacement of air can make the place uncomfortable for them and force them to come out of the nest.

Flooding of the ant nest

Flooding of nests seems to be the safest method of interfering with an ant mound when you want to get a queen.

However, it is essential to add water in a small amount as excessive moisture can kill them instantly.

These insects can drown when you add a bucket of chilled water inside a small mound. It is better to add water slowly to create chaos within the mound.

Fill a spray bottle with frozen water and spray on the entry point so water droplets can reach inside. The ants feel a threat in their surroundings and leave the mound quickly.

You can see a few workers carrying her out to shift to a new place. It is the time when you have to pick the queen ant.

Increase temperature

Ants like to live in warm temperatures as it helps them multiply and allows the queen to reproduce. Therefore, she leaves her nest when the weather becomes favorable to engage in nuptial flight for mating.

They prefer to live in warm places, but hot temperature affects their activities as these insects cannot tolerate extreme temperatures.

Accordingly, you can use a hair dryer to increase the temperature that makes them uncomfortable. You have to be careful about the temperature range as it can also kill her.

When these insects feel discomfort, they leave the mound quickly and move to other areas. So this is the right time to pick her up quickly.

Why would you get a queen out of its nest?

A queen ant is considered a royal colony member and treated like a mother as it ensures the colony’s survival. It produces new larvae that can replace the old dying member of the colony.

It becomes essential to kill her when you want to get rid of these tiny insects; otherwise, it can give rise to a population at a different spot if you think nest disturbance can make her leave the house.

Some people make efforts to get her out of the mound without killing them when they are interested in keeping them inside an ant farm.

You can capture a newly mated queen as it can give rise to a new population within a short time by fertilizing the eggs. So, you can get her out of the nest to get rid of the population or raise it.

How to catch a queen ant without killing it?

There are different ways to capture a queen ant without killing as most people prefer to use their hands to get a grip over their tiny bodies, but it can kill them sometimes.

You have to prepare a container and test tube before starting the catching process. Fill 2/3 of the test tube with water and put cotton inside that touches the water surface and remains moist.

Keep the test tube in your hand, keep the open end close to the moving insect, and pray that she will come inside it.

In addition, you can also use a toothpick to make her move inside the tube.

Tweezers can also help pick the queen ant and leave it inside a closed container with a habitat similar to their underground mounds.

Additionally, you can put your hand in her way, which makes her climb on the hand and allow you to throw it inside a test tube.

Close the open end of the tube with a cotton plug and inject sweet juices into the cotton to give them a food source, which is essential for their survival.

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What kills the queen ant? ›

Since the queen ant stays hidden inside the colony for her entire life, she can only really die from two causes: worker ants or humans. Worker ants will kill off multiple queens but sometimes go too far and accidentally kill all the queens. Other than that scenario, a human is likely responsible for a queen's death.

Does queen ant ever come out? ›

You will rarely spot a queen ant outside of the nest because she spends most of her life laying eggs. If the queen is out of the nest, that means it is mating season, and she's on the prowl for a mate.

Does the queen ant ever leave her nest? ›

However, the queen of the black ant colony can survive for up to thirty years. This is because she hardly ever leaves her chambers to go outside the nest and worker ants provide everything she needs to survive.

How do you lure a queen ant out of her nest? ›

A toothpick can be used to get a queen ant out of her nest. Simply insert the toothpick into the nest opening and wait for the queen ant to come to the surface. Once she is on the toothpick, carefully remove her from the nest.

Do queen ant bites hurt? ›

Queen ants cannot sting. They are relatively inactive and immobile and they primarily engage in feeding and laying eggs. They are dependent on other members of the ant colony for defense.

What happens if a queen ant dies? ›

Once the queen dies, the colony will still act as it did — in search of food and building their underground nest. However, this means that the colony's days are limited due to the fact that new ants cannot replace ones that die off.

Can you drown the queen ant? ›

Many people think they can get rid of ants by drowning them or suffocating them. These methods for getting rid of ants are simply not effective because ants do not have lungs.

How long do ant queens live? ›

Queen ants can live for decades, males for a week

niger queens have lived for nearly 30 years. Workers live for about a year, males little more than a week (although their sperm live longer). These extraordinary differences in longevity are purely due to the way their genes are switched on and off.

What is the biggest queen ant? ›

Titanomyrma giganteum is the biggest ant species that ever lived on earth. The workers were 1-3cm long, but queens were 5.5cm long with a wingspan of 13cm.

Does the queen ant sleep? ›

Well, it turns out they do. Incredibly, the queen ant can sleep for up to 9 hours a day. This is an incredible finding and shows that the queen has a much more relaxed lifestyle than previously estimated. She can have long and deep sleeps, while the poor worker ants are forced to work round the clock.

Are queen ants born or made? ›

Ants adhere to a caste system, and at the top is the queen. She's born with wings and referred to as a princess until she takes part in the nuptial flight, mates with a male ant, and flies off to start her own colony.

How many queens are in an ant nest? ›

Thus, while queens benefit equally by producing sons or daughters, worker females should prefer to raise sisters so they can pass on more of their genes. Indeed, researchers have found that ant colonies usually have about three females to every male.

Do queen ants need water? ›

They simply need to be kept dark and with a source of water. The test tube is perfect for this. The easiest way is to create a sort of water reservoir in the tube by filling it with 1/3 water and then putting a cotton ball in it. The queen will be able to drink from it without drowning.

Are queen ants poisonous? ›

Poison gland – A poison gland containing venom is attached to the stinger. Queen and winged reproductive (unmated queen) ants also have a poison gland. However, they do not use their ovipositors as stingers, as do worker ants. Venom – The venom of imported fire ants is produced in the poison gland.

How do you get an ant to let go? ›

20 natural ways to eliminate and repel ants
  1. Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide) ...
  2. Glass cleaner and liquid detergent. ...
  3. Ground black or red pepper. ...
  4. Peppermint. ...
  5. Tea tree oil. ...
  6. Lemon eucalyptus oil. ...
  7. Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) ...
  8. White vinegar.
Dec 20, 2021

How deep is the queen ant? ›

Digging up a colony

Some species will also dig very deep, for example, some Pogonomyrmex have been found with nests over 5 meters deep. Some species, like Myrmica in areas that get snow, only dig about 4" down and often only dig beneath rocks and lifting a rock can yield an entire colony.

Are queen ants smart? ›

Queens are smart enough to plan for a potential attack. When they live with other queens, they lay a reduced number of eggs. Workers are smart as well, as they smell chemical odors from the most fertile queens and kill off the less fertile ones.

Can 2 queen ants live together? ›

A colony of ants can contain more than one queen, but this depends on what species it is. Queen ants are usually the biggest ants in the colony.

Can queen ants fly? ›

The female "queen" ants will fly a long distance, during which they will mate with at least one winged male from another nest. He transfers sperm to the seminal receptacle of the queen and then dies. Once mated, the "queen" will attempt to find a suitable area to start a colony and, once found will detach her wings.

How long can ants live without a queen? ›

Worker ants may last weeks or months without a queen. If you want to start an ant farm fast and you want one that will only last for a few weeks or months, all that you will need are some worker ants, without a queen.

Can you suffocate an ant? ›

Baking soda / Baby powder. How it works: Baking soda and baby powder both suffocate ants by clogging their spiracles, which are pores in their exoskeleton that they need to breathe. If ingested, baking soda will create a chemical reaction inside the ant that kills it.

Can ants feel pain? ›

Over 15 years ago, researchers found that insects, and fruit flies in particular, feel something akin to acute pain called “nociception.” When they encounter extreme heat, cold or physically harmful stimuli, they react, much in the same way humans react to pain.

Do ants fight with their queen? ›

The ants were observed fighting, both queen to queen, and worker ants to queens. However the inter-queen fighting involved ritualistic antennal boxing and mandible threats, while the workers were more vicious, and also pulled and bit low ranking queens. The top queen was decided by the infighting between the queens.

Do ants have blood? ›

The short answer is ants have something similar to blood, but scientists call it “haemolymph”. It is yellowish or greenish. In vertebrates (animals with backbones such as humans, cats, dogs, snakes, birds and frogs) blood's main job is to move important things around the body.

How old is the oldest ant? ›

In the journal Biology Letters, researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Colorado State University have reported the discovery of the oldest army ant on record, preserved in Baltic amber dating to the Eocene (~35 million years ago).

What do queen ants eat? ›

Queen ants typically do not forage, but use the proteins from their decaying flight muscles as a food reserve.

How old is the oldest ant to live? ›

A queen ant Lasius niger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) has the longest recorded adult life of any insect: 28¾ years in captivity.

What is the rarest ant in the world? ›

Nothomyrmecia, also known as the dinosaur ant or dawn ant, is an extremely rare genus of ants consisting of a single species, Nothomyrmecia macrops. These ants live in South Australia, nesting in old-growth mallee woodland and Eucalyptus woodland.

Were ants alive with dinosaurs? ›

Ants existed but were relatively uncommon about 90 million years ago, when dinosaurs were moving closer toward extinction. About 50 million years ago, not long after the dinosaurs became extinct, the ant populations suddenly flourished.

How many ants does a queen lay a day? ›

Queen ants can produce about 800 eggs per day. A “mature” colony can contain more than 200,000 ants along with the developmental and adult stages of winged black-colored male and reddish-brown female reproductives.

Can you hear ants scream? ›

While these insects don't literally scream, they actually produce sounds. Scientifically speaking, there are several species of ants that normally stridulate. These are shrill and repetitive sounds that are produced when the ants strike their body parts on certain areas of their colonies.

Can ants bite you in bed? ›

Ants usually bite on your feet, hands and legs and bed bugs prefer biting your hands and arms and parts of your body that make contact with your bed where they live. The bite from an ant can look like a single pimple and a bite from a bed bug causes small red elevated bumps in a linear pattern on your skin.

Do queen ants have brains? ›

The triumphant female ant's ovaries expand and her brain shrinks up to 25 percent. But new research shows these queens can be taken off their pedestal, reverting back to workers. This causes the ovaries to shrink again, and the brain to regrow, an extraordinary feat not previously known to occur in insects.

Can queen ant have babies? ›

Even though the worker ants are female, the queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. They have highly evolved social systems with three different castes ~ queens, males, and workers. The workers are female, but cannot reproduce. Most of the eggs the queen lays hatch into workers.

How long do ants sleep? ›

A recent study of ants' sleep cycle found that the average worker ant takes approximately 250 naps each day, with each one lasting just over a minute. That adds up to 4 hours and 48 minutes of sleep per day. The research also found that 80 percent of the ant workforce was awake and active at any one time.

How clean are ants? ›

Ants are very clean animals. They have an oily saliva which they use to clean and oil their bodies by licking them. An ant's antennae are very important, as they help the ant communicate and find food sources. As such, they must also be kept very clean.

How big can queen ants get? ›

Carpenter ant queens measure about 13 to 17 mm in length and, depending on the species, are dark brown, yellow, red or black in color. After mating with the male carpenter ant, the queen sheds her wings and looks for a new nesting site for her young. The queen prefers moist and rotten wood to establish a new colony.

What does a queen fire ant look like? ›

Queen fire ants will have a large head and thorax making them stand out from the normal worker ants. Queen fire ants normally have wings at some point in their lives, so looking for wings or scars on their backs from where a set of wings would have been shed is a good indicator that you have found a queen in the mound.

What do ant queens look like? ›

The queen ant will have scars where the wings once were, which you should be able to see if you examine her closely. Her trunk is usually as wide as her head, and her abdomen is large because her primary responsibility is to lay eggs for the colony. If you see an ant with a smaller head, it's most likely a worker.

Do ants have poop? ›

Rather than doing the deed any old place in their nests, they maintain one to four "well-defined faecal patches"—in other words, designated toilet areas. These makeshift bathrooms are exclusively used for ant excretion, to the exclusion of all other waste, such as corpses and uneaten food.

Do queen ants need oxygen? ›

Like all animals, ants need oxygen to survive.

How long do queen ants lay? ›

In most cases, it takes a queen anywhere between a few hours to a week to lay eggs. Some queens, especially those caught prior to winter, i.e. hibernation season, may hold off laying eggs until after hibernation.

What happens when an ant dies? ›

When an ant dies, its nestmates quickly pack it off. That way, the risk to the colony of infection is reduced. But how do they know its dead? Theory has held that dead ants release chemicals created by decomposition (such as fatty acids) that signal their death to the colony's living ants.

Can ants smell their queen? ›

Olfactory receptors that enable ants to smell and recognize workers, males, and their queen identified.

What kills ant eggs? ›

Vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water. Add a few drops of liquid soap to increase killing power. Rake open the ant nest and pour in the mixture.

How do you catch a queen ant and take care of it? ›

They simply need to be kept dark and with a source of water. The test tube is perfect for this. The easiest way is to create a sort of water reservoir in the tube by filling it with 1/3 water and then putting a cotton ball in it. The queen will be able to drink from it without drowning.

What time is the best to find a queen ant? ›

Day length, temperature, and rainfall are just a few of the variables to take into consideration for your area regarding when a queen will do this. For dryer areas such as the Southwest, it will usually be in the springtime, whereas later summer monsoons may be the ideal time in other regions.

What is the fastest way to catch ants? ›

Try combining three parts powdered sugar with one part boric acid. The sugar will lure the ants in and the boric acid will kill them, Pereira says. Liquid is better—adult ants prefer to drink their food—so water this stuff down a little.

How do you know where the queen ant is? ›

Queens constantly receive attention from the other ants in the colony, so if you see many smaller ants climbing on top of a larger ant, it's likely that the larger one is the queen. Additionally, the queen typically resides in the center of the ants' nest and will only leave if she's looking to relocate the colony.

Can you lure out a queen ant? ›

A toothpick can be used to get a queen ant out of her nest. Simply insert the toothpick into the nest opening and wait for the queen ant to come to the surface. Once she is on the toothpick, carefully remove her from the nest.

What are queen ants attracted to? ›

Ant queens are attracted to UV light when flying at night. Your setup can be as simple as replacing the bulb on your porch light and walking out every 10min or so to see what has arrived.

Will queen ants fight? ›

New research demonstrates that queen ants fight by antennal boxing to become the reproductive queen, and that worker ants reinforce queen behavior by feeding dominant females and expelling, or killing, their weaker sisters.

Is queen ant rare? ›

First, it's important to note that it's extremely rare for most people to encounter a queen. That's because it's the job of the colony to protect the queen, so she stays hidden in a wood nest most of time. Carpenter ant queens are much larger than other ants in the colony and may measure up to an inch in length.

How long will a queen ant live? ›

For one thing, queen ants can be incredibly long-lived – one scientist had a queen that lived for almost 30 years. In the wild, it's not uncommon to find queens that are more than a decade old. Ants from other castes may have a lifespan of a few months to a year or two.

How do you lure out ants? ›

Bait ants with peanut butter and honey

If you've eliminated all your food sources and potential entry points around the house, you can always coax the remaining ants to leave the home by putting a bait like peanut butter or honey outside.

How do you force ants away? ›

White vinegar

White vinegar, available at all grocery stores, is a cheap and effective way to kill and repel ants. It is also a natural cleaning agent. Try using a 1-to-1 vinegar/water mixture to clean hard surfaces, including floors and countertops, wherever ants are likely to travel.

How do you get rid of an ant nest? ›

Simply locate as many entrances to the nest as possible and pour boiling water inside. You may have to do this repeatedly until all of the ants are dead. Dish washing liquid and oil. This method has quite a high success rate as the dish washing liquid and oil soak into the ant exoskeletons and suffocates them.


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