Hi, I would like to know if someone can identify the species of the ant colony I found next to my house. I am planning to build a formicarium and I would like to know how big it should be to hold this colony. What kind of food do they eat? I have noticed that some of them were pretty big... are they queens?
Thanks for contacting us. It is a bit difficult to tell what these ants are from just pictures but they may be a species in the extremely diverse genus, Pheidole. Pheidole are common and are usually strongly dimorphic as this species appears to be. Dimorphism means that there are two distinct size classes of workers; major (large) and minor (small). Other types of ants can also be dimorphic or have a more continuous range of sizes (polymorphism). The larger workers are often useful for carrying large food items and are sometimes helpful for defending colonies. So the big individuals that you see are the major workers, not queens. We have a great post on how to build ant farms and take care of ants here and several other posts that discuss keeping ants here. There are around 1,000 species of Pheidole and we don't know what most of them eat exactly but these posts provide guidelines for generalized ant diets that should work well.
Ben Rubin & the AntAsk Team