The largest honey ant workers take on a very special role in the colony - repletes. They are force-fed load after load of nectar by forager ants until their abdomens become the size of peas. As they get bigger, they haul themsleves up onto the roof of the nest to avoid being damaged. Once hanging from the roof, the repletes refine the nectar into thick honey. During long winters and droughts, repletes regurgitate their contents to feed other colony inhabitants - a strategy to enable these ants to survive in the desert.
Empire of the Ants is the epic story of one honey ant queen's dramatic rise to power - her brutal fall from grace.