Despite the heavy study due to the ecological and economic importance of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren), certain aspects of their ecology have been overlooked. This study may provide detailed insight into the early stages of colony growth, to supplement data from previous studies that focused on mature colony characteristics. Newly-mated monogyne queens were collected in the field and reared in the lab. Egg-laying rates for newly mated queens were continuously recorded along with periodic measurement of colony health and productivity. At the end of the experiment, queens were genotyped to verify social form.
Overall egg-laying rates did not accurately portray colony growth as evidenced by the colony size counts. Colonies grew rapidly once minims appeared. Colonies with larger numbers of minims and fourth instar larvae generally had larger egg totals.