Messor barbarus

slices through a dandelion seed

Here you can see 4 stages of development in these pupae.

This pic shows how a small worker slices through a dandelion seed.

Messor barbarus

Larvae hatching

Queen 1’s larvae started to hatch about 4 days ago. I was concerned that i should be feeding the queens so i offered some fruit flies and seeds. I soon discovered that the queen will not feed until her new brood is here and can survive about a year on her own fat reserves should she fail.

Messor barbarus

Messor barbarus


Name: Messor barbarus
Propagation: Southern Europe
Queen: 14-18mm
Workers: 3-14mm
Food: Insects and honey water, although seeds from various plants found in the wild constitute their main food source.
Air moisture: 40-60%
Temperature: 20-30°C
Hibernation: Yes, from late November to late February at 10-14°C
Nest-building: Soil nests, often under stones and in sand
Formicariums: Tank, farm tank
Formicarium size: min. 30x20cm (adjust to colony size)
Particularities: These ants masticate seeds to produce what is known as ‘ant bread’ in large chewing groups. This ant bread serves mainly as a food source. Very easy species to keep and very popular with beginners.

Information from World of Ants

10th March 2011

My two new queens had arrived from Germany in their two test tubes with the normal water reservoir at one end. One queen had a small clutch of eggs but the other had none. It could be that she had eaten them in transit due to stress, or she may not have already laid any at all. I’m keeping them in a small card box box in semi dark, The two tubes are laying on a piece of polystyrene with a groove scoured out so the tube will rest in it without rolling about. The box is sat on some bubble rap and a piece of plywood with a small heat mat underneath it all. The temp is about 25 – 28c but i must get a stat connected for safety’s sake.

The biggest problem at this stage is not to disturb them as this could cause failure in the new colony, even small vibrations will cause the queen to panic.