A Guide By, ants_and_fun
Queen Life Span: 25 years.
Max Colony Size: 5,000 workers.
Sting/Bite: No painful stings/bites of majors.
Colony founding: Monogynous (1 queen per colony) with rare cases of polygyny.
Experience level: This species is easy to keep and good for beginners.
Country or region of origin: Messor barbarous is found in southern Europe and the Mediterranean in dry regions at a temperature around 25 degrees. Species type: Harvester ants.
It is better to keep a starting colony in a test tube until they reach the 20-40 workers.
When the colony has reached 20-40 workers, then you can move them in a plaster or acrylic nest.
You better not put them in a y-tong nest, because if they have majors they will bite through the y-tong after a while. Don’t forget to give them a big enough arena.
Hydration and Food
Simple advice for hydration, Keep the nest slightly moist this species likes drier than for example Lasius niger and Myrmica rubra so 40-70% humidity would be good for them.
Their main food is seeds like (grass seed, birdseed, dandelion seeds, etc)
insects: my advice for smaller colonies: fruit flies. You can give large colonies mealworms and crickets.
Messor barbarus does not necessarily need sugars, but if youy feed them sugar, do it on a cotton ball because the workers drown easily in the honey or sugar water.
Colony Activity and Cleaning Guidance
Messor barbarus becomes more active as their colony grows, but they also become more aggressive.
I clean my messor barbarus colony (with 22 workers) their arena once every 2 weeks, but it will have to be done more often once the colony grows.
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