How Long Do Ants Live Without Food? – All You Need To Know 

Ants are one of the simplest organisms with a complex lifestyle which is often fascinating when studied. Thus learning the lifestyle and survival methods of ants is very interesting. If you are an ant enthusiast, I bet you have this lingering question bugging your brain, “how long do ants live without food?”

Ants are tiny creatures that are found just about everywhere. (Don’t be surprised when I say India alone has more than 800 species of ants inhabiting its lands)

Given their size, they wouldn’t need much food to survive. So how long can they go without any food? 

That is actually one interesting question! 

Let us walk you through the ant life and get your reservation settled. 

Please keep reading to learn about ants’ survival, lifespan, how long they can go without food or water, and more related facts that are sure interesting.

Follow us down! 

How Long Do Ants Live Without Food? 

Impatient for the exact answer, isn’t it? 

Well, let us explain. 

How long ants can live without food depends on a few other factors. Such as the location of their habitat, the species they belong to, and even their caste in the ant society (that can be pretty surprising, I know)

Let’s get into the details for better comprehension. 

  • Location of the Habitat

How does the location of an ant’s home decide how long it can live? 

Well, the location of their habitat has a huge influence on their survival. 

How come? 

It is about the availability of resources.

Ants living on high places like the top of plants and woods can live for long periods without food compared to ants living on the ground. 


High places such as the tree tops will be rich in moisture. This will, in turn, result in less need for food for the ants that live there. They will be able to thrive for longer periods even when there is food scarcity, as their location will keep them nourished for extended periods. 

It is quite the contrary for ants that live on the ground. 

Ground places do not have the perk of moisture content. 

Ants that live there need to feed on food and water sufficiently, as their location is no use to their lifespan. 

Hence, the location of the ant’s habitat influences how long ants can live without food. 

  • Species 

There are numerous ant species in the world of ants. Each species has its own distinct abilities and specialties. 

How long an ant can live without food is a survival challenge for the ants. 

Some species are good at it, while some are not. And some may perform average. 

So the species of the ants is also important when concluding how long ants can live without food. 

  • Social Caste 

Ant society has its own strict system and regulations (which are very interesting to us humans) 

In the society of ants, each colony has a queen, male ants, and female ants. And the members of these three castes have different lifespans, duties, and abilities. 

Female ants are the real warriors in ant colonies. They work very hard to find food, store them, feed the colony, protect the colony and etc. Since they have heavy responsibilities and contributions, they have a long lifespan of about two months. 

Male ants, on the other hand, have only a single duty in their life: to reproduce with the queen. So they have a shorter life that is about one to two weeks. 

What about the queen? An ant colony will have one queen. 

Queens have a very long life which is more than a decade.

Queens live up to many years. Some queens have a lifetime record of 15 years, and some have a record of 20 years. And some have a record exceeding two decades too. 

In conclusion, queens have greater survival instincts and special fat storage, which can come in handy during food shortages. (Queen privileges indeed) 

Nevertheless, ants’ social caste can influence how long they can live without food. 

Now we have discussed how certain factors will affect their survival duration when there is a deprivation of food.

So now, let’s estimate ants’ survival when there is no food.

Generally, ants will be able to survive for a good 4 to 10 days without any food. 

Queen ants will go a little longer than worker ants. 

Ants have granaries in their colonies where they store extra food for unfortunate future circumstances. 

They will feed on the granaries when there is no food. Eventually, when the granaries run out of food, they start starving. 

During starvation, some colonies even kick out their queen (guess it’s for the improper planning and management of the colony) 

When the situation worsens, the queen will mate and lay unfertilized eggs. These unfertilized eggs will then grow into male ants.


How Long Do Ants Live Without Water? 

Water is very important for hydration and healthy survival. 

Ants require water for their health as much as humans need it. 

When there is no water for ants to feed on, they will be deprived of their energy and dehydrate, eventually leading to death. 

Water is equally important as food. 

Again, how long ants can live without water also depend on the three factors explained above (location, species, and social caste) 

But generally, ants can live without water for two weeks at maximum. 

They will die of dehydration when there is no water for more than two weeks. 

What Do Ants Eat? 

A common question people raise with a lot of curiosity is, “what do ants eat?” 

Well, they feed on things such as human garbage, animal carcasses, plant matter, sweet things, etc. 

These foods provide sufficient proteins and vitamins to function energetically and survive. 


How long do ants live without food and water? Well, about two weeks at the maximum. But it depends on a few other factors, such as the ants’ social caste, habitat location, and the species they belong to. 

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