Did you ever wonder why the queen ant is different from all other ants in the same colony ?
It all depends on how much food an ant is fed when it is a larva.
Here are some interesting facts about ants :
During this stage, the level of care and nourishment the larvae receive will determine their eventual adult form. When resources are low, all larvae will develop into female worker ants; however, if the parent of a sexually reproducing colony has a plentiful supply of food, some of the larvae will receive better nourishment than others, and develop into winged, sexually mature female ants destined to leave the colony.
The male ant spends all his life producing sperms and storing them. Once he marries a queen ant, he discharges all his sperms in one go. And DIES ! The queen ant stores all these in a sperm bank inside her body, and uses them regularly.
When conditions are hot and humid after rain and wind is minimal, masses of winged sexually reproducing ants or “flying ants” will leave their parent nest and take flight. The mating flights occur simultaneously in all ant nests of the particular species. 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, detach her wings.
In the case of bees, they are fed large amounts of Royal Jelly.
Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens. It is secreted from the hypopharyngeal glands in the heads of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony. When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or was killed, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.