top of page
Formica Rufibarbis care

Formica rufibarbis, the Red Barbed Ant, is known for their aggressive and predatory behaviour, these ants are adept at attacking other species to establish and protect their nests. This species reveals the complexity of ant societies, from solitary queen founding to mature colonies that thrive with a robust worker population. Easy to keep ants. Make sure you provide them with a larger and well-ventilated ant farm as these ants spray formic acid which can endanger the colony.

Habitat and Distribution

The species boasts a wide distribution throughout Europe, from Portugal to Western Siberia, and is also found in Iran on parkland ground in moderate rainfall areas. The survival of Formica rufibarbis in the UK is closely tied to specific environmental conditions that are increasingly under threat due to human activities. They can now only be found in a few locations and have been included in the Red List. The bare truth is that these ants have never been so widely distributed here, also, Formica rufibarbis can be confused with those of Formica fusca or Formica cunicularia. Our Formica Rufibarbis are imported from Asia, where they are thriving.

Formica rufibarbis ants show a preference for nesting in the ground with sand-loam soil or under stones, usually in sandy banks.

Physical Characteristics and Identification

The size of the worker caste ranges from 5 to 7 mm, while queens are larger, measuring between 9 to 10 mm with the thorax in red and black head and gaster. How to identify these ants? The Red-barbed Ant is easily recognizable by its large size and the striking contrast between its blackish head and gaster and the light reddish thorax.


Their diet is quite varied, including insects such as cockroaches, crickets, and even small arachnids, showcasing their role as significant predators in their habitat.

Hibernation: Yes

From October till March at 8-10 degrees Celsius.

Habitat requirements

Air humidity: outworld: 40 - 50%(normal room humidity) and in the nest: 60 - 70%;

Temperature: outworld: overnight 18 and maximum daily temperature 26°C. In the nest area: 21 - 24°C.

Nesting and Colony Structure:

The social structure within Formica rufibarbis colonies is intricate, with nests starting from a single queen and potentially growing to include two or three queens with up to 1000 or more workers.


Egg to adult ant - around 10 weeks.



What are the stages in the life cycle of a Formica ant?
The life cycle of Formica ants encompasses four primary stages: they begin as eggs, then develop into larvae, followed by the pupal stage, and finally emerge as adult ants.

What type of environment does the Formica Rufibarbis prefer?
The red-barbed ant, or Formica Rufibarbis, thrives in successional heathland environments. As a species that favours warmth, it requires habitats that are dry and exposed to sunlight for nesting and foraging. The ideal environment for these ants includes areas with bare ground, short grass, and heather, often found over loose or sandy soils, particularly in maritime heathlands and grasslands.

Where can you find Formica rufa ants and their nests?
Formica rufa ants, known for constructing large ant hills, can be found in both coniferous and deciduous forests. This means they are adaptable to areas with pine needles as well as those with broadleaf trees.

Does the Formica rufibarbis species exhibit parasitic behaviour?
Yes, the Formica rufibarbis is known for its parasitic tendencies when establishing new colonies. The queens initiate new colonies by taking over the nests of other ant species. These ants are commonly found in European lowland forests and are easily recognized by their conspicuous mound nests.



Formica Rufibarbis

Out of Stock
bottom of page