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Messor barbarus caresheet


Ah yes. Good old Messor barbarus. The golden standard for every beginner ant keeper. These ants are fun, good sized and very easy to keep as pets. 


Messor barbarus are not picky eaters. The eat almost any type of seed. Make sure the seeds are small enough for the ants to crack open. While eating mainly seeds they also love sugars that come from fruit, sugarwater or ant jellys. For protein the best food for them is fruitflies, mealworms, crickets and other smaller insects.

If you feed insects from the wild freeze or boil these insects to sterilize them. Skipping this step can introduce mites to your colony.


Messor barbarus will do well in almost any formicarium or ant farm. The Esthetic Ants nests are all perfect for this species and your ants will trive in them. 


Messor barbarus does not hibernate but has a diapause. Keeping these ants around 10-15 degrees during November until March greatly befinits these ants and will stimulate brood production after hibernation. 

Species information

Messor Barbarus is a common seed harvesting ants from the southwest-europe.  Very common in the warmer European countries because these ants like the heat. 

They nest under rocks and sandy areas. These ants feed on seeds and harvest mainly grass and plant seeds. Bigger colonies do eat smaller insects to aquire protein. The seeds get stores in huge chambers for later consumption.

Messor Barbarus is monogyne meaning their can only be one egg laying queen in the colony. Colonies can grow up to 10,000 workers! Messor Barbarus has different casts. They can have majors and soldier up to 14mm! These majors are used to break open the hard seeds collected by the workers. 

These ants have nuptial flights from September until November. A nuptial flight is a fenonamon where new ant queens (alates) fly out of the nest to meet and breed with ants from other colonies.

Workers get around 3 to 9 mm long,the queen is around 14 to 18 mm long and the soldiers can grow up to 14mm. This species is medium size for an European species.

Source: AntWiki


Messor barbarus greatly benefits from heating their nest. Without their brood won't develop very fast. 


These ants don't sting or bite. They are not agressive and will only become more active when disturbed. 

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