Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Nest Relocation

  • Sarah BengstonEmail author
  • Terry McGlynn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_84-1


Nest moving; Nest transfer; Nomadism

The propensity and ability of a colony to relocate some or all components of their nest varies widely across social insects. Some species are relatively sessile, such as large, mature Attaleaf-cutting ant colonies, which may find it very difficult to move a very large colony (with or without its substantial fungus gardens) to a new site. Other species move readily, either as a result of their intrinsic life history or external stresses and environmental stimuli. Indeed, it is likely that nest relocation by social insects is a much more frequent occurrence than is generally perceived [3]. Some of this underestimation results from the assumption that colonies should be reticent to leave structures that require so much investment in labor and materials. Certainly, for some, especially mobile species, there is limited investment in nest structure. As examples, the aptly named house-hunting ants (genus Temnothorax) rely entirely on preformed...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City University of New York: Baruch CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCalifornia State University Dominguez HillsCarsonUSA
  3. 3.Entomology DepartmentNatural History Museum of Los Angeles CountyLos AngelesUSA