Myrmica Rubra Ants.
Known as: European fire ant
Lives: Europe, northwestern US and Canada
Habitat: moist places like grasslands or forests
Nest: in soil, under stones
Size: workers 4 – 6 mm, queen 5 – 7,5mm
Myrmica Rubra is a slightly aggressive stinging ant species that is widely distributed throughout Europe and parts of the US and Canada where it is often considered a pest. In Europe, on the other hand, this species is quite important for their environment. The sting feels like a sting of a stinging-nettle.
Myrmica Rubra identification.
They have a yellowish/brown or reddish/brown colour, no majors and the workers are 4-6 mm and have a shiny gaster.
Capturing a Myrmica Rubra queen ant.
Nuptial flights happen between August and September. Once a queen has been captured she still requires being fed even before her first worker arrives (semi-claustral).
A well-established colony can reach up to 20.000 ants and this species accepts more than one queen in their colonies. It will take about 6 weeks for the first worker to arrive once your queen has started laying eggs.
When your colony starts growing and a test tube setup doesn’t offer enough space anymore you should transfer them to a formicarium such as Ytong, an ant farm filled with sand, etc.
They prefer a very moist nest so you should provide them with such.
These ants also need to be hibernated between the end of October until March. During that time you should keep the temperature between 5 – 8°C.
Myrmica Rubra feeding.
Just like other ant species they love sweets such as honey or sugar water. Proteins can be offered by feeding them crickets, mealworms, houseflies and other small insects or even by giving them a little piece of cooked meat. Freshwater also needs to be provided at all times.
In nature, they also farm aphids for honeydew which provides them with sugars.