Myrmica rubra, or European fire ant as they are often called, is a beautiful little ant with deep red colours. They pack an annoying little sting that you can compare to the rash you get from stinging nettles. It’s annoying for us human beings, but it’s proven to be fatal for a great many insects. It also quite interesting that this species has two types of queens: a regular queen of about 7,5mm that most antkeepers know, but they also have these so-called microqueens that are the same size as the workers. These smaller queens are often difficult to find because they fly later in the season and because they are so similar to regular workers, making it easy for people to completely ignore them.
These ants are dispite their annoying sting still relatively easy to keep. Just make sure they can’t escape. The grow quickly, are not fussy about what they eat and they can be kept at room temperature.
Size & colony type
Queen: aprox. 5mm – 7,5mm
Workers: aprox. 4mm – 6mm
Colony type: polygyne
Colony size: about 15,000 – 20,000 workers per colony
Keeping difficulty: Fairly easy.
Distribution: Europe, Asia, North America
Habitat: often found in grasslands
Natural nest: they often build their nests underground and under rocks
Suitable formicaria: Ytong-, plaster-, 3D- and acrylicnests are all suitable for this species
Recommended humidity: 50% – 70%
Recommended temperature: 21°C – 24°C
Nutrition: a sugar source such as honey or sugarwater and a protein source such as prey insects like crickets or fruitflies. Insect jelly is also a suitable feeder since it contains both sugar and protein and varius other beneficial components
Hibernation: yes, from the end of october till the end of march
Claustral: no, you will need to feed regularly
Matingflight period: july – september
Egg to worker: 6 to 8 weeks depending on how they are being kept