Common name: Harvester Ant
Colony form - Monogyne (single queen)
Workers - 3 -14mm
Queen - 15-18mm
Messor barbarus are quite a common European ant species, living mostly in the south. They are called "Harvester Ants" because they collect seeds and chew them in groups to make 'ant bread'. The ant bread is then eaten by the colony. The seeds are then stored inside the nest in chambers called 'granaries'. Queens of this species are Monogyne which means there is only ever a single queen in the colony. Their natural nests are usually constructed underground and they prefer a dry enviroment.
Messor barbarus have three castes of workers: Minor, media and major. The minor workers are the smallest workers who tend to the queen and work around the nest. The media workers are slightly larger and chew seed in groups with the major workers. They are also foragers of the colony. The major workers are the largest caste of the colony and defend the nest.
Messor barbarus can be kept at room temperature when kept in captivity, but many ant keepers prefer to keep them at 25 degrees Celcius. This is to mimic their natural enviroment.
Messor barbarus will accept different types of food, the main source being seeds. A variety of seed can be given. Usually bird seed mixes are widely accepted. If you dont have bird seed, or prefer to feed seperate seed types, you can give the following:
* Make sure all seeds are free from pesticides. You can do this by ourchasing organic seeds or collecting natural seeds yourself.
Regular protein should always be given for the brood in the form of live/dead insects or meat such as cooked chicken.
The following insects are suitable for a colony of Messor barbarus:
waxworms and many more!
Messor barbarus do not openly accept sugar/honey water. Only if there is no water source for them, the ants will drink honey/sugar water.
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