Under the watchful eye of the ant queen, the brood develops through three immature life stages. The eggs become larvae and then pupae. The queen picks them up and cleans them constantly to ward off dangerous bacteria and mold. Her attentions provide the brood with tactile stimulus and and coat them in a nutritious batch of pheromones that myrmecologists (ant scientists) call the "Queen Substance".
The queen's life depends on her larvae and pupae becoming ants -- she hasn't eaten since she left her home colony, mated in mid-air, dug a tunnel underground and laid these eggs. Now, she won't survive without their help. Luckily, the minute a new ant is born, she begins assisting her mother.