About Pogonomyrmex barbatus


American Species- Harvester Ants

Temperature: Nest 27- 35°C Outworld 25- 40°C

Humidity: Nest 70- 80% Outworld 60- 90%

While the Queen is founding, keep the humidity as high as you can (80-100%) and then drop down to 70-80% when the first workers emerge to avoid the seeds germinating.

Hibernation: Yes, From early December to early March at 15°c. 

Ease them into hibernation for a couple of weeks by gently dropping the temps by a couple of degrees every few days so they can prepare. Cutting the food supply will help speed up the preparation.

Diet: Water (at all times). Carbohydrates- like honey water/ sugar water or other. Protein- like fresh-killed insects or other. Seeds are 80% of their diet, like flaxseed, grass seed, rapeseed, chia seed, dandelion seed, and so on.

Colony form: Monogyne (one queen per colony) Average 10,000 workers per colony.

Founding Queen: Claustral (without feeding)

Nest type: Acrylic, Natural setup. Ytong- (Keep an eye out for them chewing)

Sizes: Approx: Queen- 12mm/ Worker- 5- 7mm


Bite/ Sting/ Formic acid: Yes, Very painful sting and are very venomous. They also bite, Please handle with care.


Description: Pogonomyrmex barbatus is a species of Harvester Ant from the US. They have been reported to travel 50-60m in the search for food. In the wild, they create large mounds and trails leading to and from their nest. Worker ants will almost always be successful when foraging, with 90% of them not returning until they have found some food for the colony. Foraging is regulated by using positive and negative feedback loops. When foraging workers are regularly returning to the nest with food, this will increase the outgoing foraging activity throughout the entire colony as they perceive there to be food in excessive amounts available and vice versa when foragers return empty-mandibled. Pognomyrmex is the most venomous insect in the animal kingdom but that doesn't mean the most deadly. The venom they inflict can be compared against the most venomous snakes.


When keeping these ants, it may be wise to experiment with your colony if you feel their growth rate is slow. Although they're the same species, different queens may prefer different conditions. Some queens prefer a minimum of 30°c and others will do just fine with the temps specified in this care sheet. Stick to the care sheet to begin with but feel free to gently experiment with higher temps and humidity to find their personal sweet spot while providing a heat and humidity gradient so they can pick and choose and tell you what they prefer.

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Pogonomyrmex barbatus (Red Harvester Ant)

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