- Ant Species
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Known as: Harvester Ant / Messor Barbarus
Lives: Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa
Habitat: Parks, Forests and Gardens.
Nest : Soil Nests under ground or under pavement.
Size: Queen 14 to 18mm, Workers: 3 to 9 mm and Majors: 9 to 14mm.
Keeping Read Head Messor Barbarus and Care
The Red Head Messor Barbarus species is suitable for beginners and people common to keeping ants as pets. Try not to disturb them to often or this could cause stress and your queen may die as they are easily stressed out.
Red Head Messor Barbarus Behavior
The Messor Barbarus species do not sting, but the workers and major are so big they can bite you. They tend to collect and store large amounts of seeds. If you ever saw the film Antz its the same sort of harvest collection. Known for forming large trails to and from seed collecting areas. Do not like to be disturb, little vibrations can make them panic. Major barbarous ants have larger heads and bigger jaws for chewing down the seeds to feed the colony.
Colonies can range from being small at the beginning of colony growth but once fully in operation, they will have a very large colony. Once the colony reaches a certain size they will start to produce young queen ants.
Capturing a Red Head Messor Barbarus Queen Ant
These queens can be caught flying around in autumn during their nuptial flights. This happens after a heavy down fall of rain especially in Spain and north Africa. The newly caught queen will more than likely start egg laying after the winter months. Nuptial flights can happen between September until the end of October.
For starting out a test tube setup is just fine. Once the colony begins to grow you should consider an acrylic or strong nest for larger colonies. You will need to supply this species with an area in which they can forage for food and seeds.
In order to keep this species of ant, you will need to provide some humidity but not too much. They like to live in warm dry areas in the wild. You can keep them at room temperature and will still be perfectly fine but sometimes its best to place a small heat mat on one side of the nest of a temperature 25 to 30 degrees. Providing the nest with darkness by covering it with a red see through plastic will help reduce the stress of the colony.
When winter comes they need to be hibernated at temperatures around 10 to 15 degrees celsius. Once in hibernation, they will slow down and feeding will not be a big requirement as they will use stored fats and proteins to survive the winter months. Once spring comes slowly start to increase the temperature and they will come out of hibernation.
What do they eat
The harvester ant requires seeds, grass seeds, bird seeds and dandelion seeds. These are broken down into an ant breed which is then fed to the colony. Water is a requirement as all ants need to drink, sugar water will do the great to help give them an energy boost. They will also eat honey, crickets, meal worms and other tiny insects.