The European Harvester Ant Messor barbarus.
Messor species are from warmer regions of Europe such as Spain and Portugal. It is recommended that you keep your queen in the test tube she is supplied in, and store her in airing cupboard until her first workers hatch (remember to hibernate your queen if she hasn’t yet laid any eggs by the time winter arrives).
Messor ants primarily collect seeds from plants as their main food source hence the name harvester ant. A selection of seed should be provided, they particularly like grass seeds. Although Harvester ants prefer a dry climate it is recomended that the sand/soil is kept damp around the main nest chambers, care should be taken not to over dampen the seed storage area of the nest as it may cause germination or mould growth.
Messor Species Information
Queen: 15-18mm glossy black
Workers: 3 – 13mm glossy black
Food: Seeds (They collect a wide range of seeds), honey water, fruit
Nest: Sand Loam
Temperature: Room temperature or warmer 22 – 28 C (hibernate during winter from November to mid February at 10 – 15 C, ideally keep them indoors in a cool room for hibernation. Putting them in a garage or shed may be too cold.)
Humidity: 30 – 50% seed chamber, 70 – 80% nest chamber.
Overall time from egg to adult ant – 8 to 10 weeks
Egg to larvae – 10 to 20 days
Larvae to pupa – 14 – 21 days
Pupae to adult ant – 10 – 21 days
Active – March to October
Approx Queen life span – usually 10 – 15 years although up to 25 years in some cases
Live Arrival Guarantee:
We guarantee live arrival on all livestock (applies to Queens only for colonies, not workers). A replacement will be sent should livestock fail to survive the journey. Please note that the guarantee is only valid for UK and Ireland deliveries, orders outside these destinations are at the customers own risk.
Once you have received your livestock Ants Unearthed (Edu-Sci Ltd) will offer a replacement should livestock perish within 24 hours of arrival. After this initial period we are unable to replace any insects which may perish due to us having no control over the environmental conditions in with the insects are being kept. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure they have undertaken enough research to be able to look after the insects properly and provide them with the correct conditions. By purchasing from us you are agreeing to these terms of trade.
A care sheet is available below, please note that this only covers basic aspects of ant care. Following it does not guarantee success and further research should be undertaken.
Ant Care Sheet
Feeding your ants
Ants feed on a wide variety of foods. Sugar and nectars are required by the adult ants and protein is needed for the ant larvae to develop. A varied diet should be provided and old food should be removed before mould develops.
Sugar, Honey, Jam, Nectar, Protein Jelly, Worms, Shrimp, Flies, Caterpillars, Crickets, Snails, Meal Worms
Housing your ants
Native ants such as Black, Red and Meadow species do no need heated habitats and can be kept at room temperature. Habitats are usually made of plastic or glass and should be 2/3rds filled with a sand loam mixture. The sand should be regularly dampened to ensure the nest structure holds together. Nest tanks of 10cm x 20cm can house a colony for 2-3 years, additional tanks can be connected as the colony grows.
Hints and Tips
Keep your ants out of direct sunlight to avoid over-heating
Feed your ants every 2-3 days
Do Not mix ants from different colonies as the ants will fight
Do not tap the ant habitat as you could cause the nest to collapse
Be patient, colonies take time to grow and establish themselves
If the temperature becomes low during Autumn ant may enter hibernation until the spring.
Gel habitats are not suitable for UK and species
Do further reading and research on ants. This is only a guide to the basics.
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