Ants are eusocial insects meaning they live with the highest level of organisation of animal sociality. Demonstrating cooperative brood care for the offspring of other individuals, overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labour into reproductive and non-reproductive groups. This complex social organization and structured division of labour created various castes that perform specialised behavioural duties. The different castes within a colony include; egg laying queens and reproductive males that take the roles as the sole reproducers while the soldiers and workers work together to create a living situation favourable for the brood (eggs, larvae & pupae).
Most of the workers found in the nest are females, wingless and sterile but do not lay eggs. The workers are responsible for construction & maintenance of the nest, foraging, tending the brood & the queen & to defend the nest in any crucial circumstances. Male and winged queens have a shorter duration in their nest, soon after emerging they leave the nest to mate and establish new nests. Queens usually have a larger body, which differentiates them from the workers. Male are either the same size as the queen or are smaller, in many cases males look more like wasps than ants.
Ant eggs hatch into pale, legless, grub-like larvae that are fed and tended to by the workers. When they are fully-grown, the ant larvae transforms into a non-feeding pupae that are either naked or, more frequently, enclosed within a cocoon. All the new worker ants emerge from the pupae stage.
Colonies are structured nest communities created by the ants which may be located underground, in ground level mounds, or in trees. Ant species found living in cool temperate regions, or in hot deserts frequently nest underground, where their colonies are insulated from extreme temperatures.
Ants become a pest to humans when they start to establish colonies inside the wall cavities and roof voids of peoples homes.