Formica pallidefulva (Uncertain Field Ant) Care Sheet

This guide was compiled and written by Daniel Cantin of the 'Ants and Antkeeping' discord server, which can be found here. https://discord.gg/YbZGvtR3 

This guide has been posted with the permission of the authors. The original article may be found here. I have also made some edits based on my own observations 

Care sheet - Formica pallidefulva

Formica pallidefulva are very wide spread ants. They thrive in both warm and cold environments. Ranging from Southern Florida to Northern Canada, these ants thrive in nearly every climate. Their colour also changes based on their area and climate. These ants grow small colonies of about 1000 workers and grow fairly quickly. Their workers range from 4-8mm based on it’s maturity. The queens are super fast and powerful, they dig their claustral cells incredibly quickly.


Taxonomy

Famila: Formicidae

Subfamilia: Formicinae

Tribus: Formicini

Genus: Formica

Species: Formica pallidefulva


Basic info

Origin: Likely originated from Canada and Northern United State, they have successfully spread across most of North America.

Habitat: Enjoys warm temperatures but doesn’t necessarily need them, I have kept them in an air-conditioned room and they have done just fine. They enjoy a very moist nest with a good amount of darkness.

Colonies from: Possibly polygynous, but can also found alone.

Colony size: 1000 workers

Colony age: 5 years

Founding: Fully claustral

Workers: Monomorphic

Nesting: These ants dig nests into dirt and often burrow quite deep. (at least a foot)

Hibernation: These ants require at least 3 months of hibernation in 4-6 degrees celsius.

Reproduction: Send out alates all summer.


Appearance

Workers: Black/maroon head with dark brown thorax. Gaster is black with a shiny tint. They also have black/brown legs.

Queen: Black head with a light brown thorax. Gaster is striped with brown and light brown. Also has a shiny strip on gaster.

Drone: Dark brown head with light brown thorax. Gaster is dark brown and the legs are semi-transparent.


Size

Workers: around 4-8mm long

Queens: 8-12mm long

Drones: around 6-7mm long


Development time at 75F (24C)

Egg to larvae: around 10 days

Larvae to pupae: around 7 days

Pupae to worker: Around 10 days

Egg to worker: 27 days


Ant keeping information

Recommendation: Great for beginners. Extremely hardy ants.

Temperature: 14-29° Celcius

Nesting materials: Nests in dirt.


Behaviour

These ants are quite entertaining to watch. Their foraging patterns are quite random and eratic. They run around super fast and just use their antennae to detect food. When they hunt they grab their prey’s legs and stretch it out. Then some workers spit formic acid all over them.

They are active during the day.


Additional information

Formica pallidefulva love sugars and will create large-scale trails.

Formica pallidefulva are extremely good at escaping as they normally attempt to climb the barrier many times a day. I find that using fluon works best.


Diet

Sugars

Formica pallidefulva love honey and sugar water. From my experience, they don’t find too much interest in fruits at all.

Protein

As for protein, you should give them fruit flies and crickets. They don’t seem to really enjoy superworms and mealworms that much. If you are putting them into a natural setup, you may want to consider adding aphids as the ants “milk” them for sweet honeydew.

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