One of our smallest native ant species! Monogyn (single-queen), claustral species. The queen’s head and thorax are black, the abdomen is yellow underneath, and black on top. Workers are tiny, brightly yellow and they have sting. This is a parasitic ant species, they can be saw on the surface rarely. The thief ant digs its nest close to another (usually larger-bodied) ant species, their narrow tunnels run straight into the host species’ tunnels. This allows them to continuously steal larger colony’s eggs, larvae, and stored food. They are so small, they can easily slip away, and they stay unnoticed beside host ants. Some studies suggest that they can even emit a pheromone that deters the host species’ workers from their chambers, so the way is open to rob.
Despite their parasitic lifestyle, they can be kept in formicarium. However, due to their small size, their care requires special patience and attention. We have to pay attention the formicarium’s smallest gaps to avoid their escape. We also have to be careful with water and liquid food, because if we give them too much, they can stick to it. The queens have a relatively high mortality rate, but mature colonies are more stable.
Food: Honey and insects. You also can occasionally offer them small amounts of oily seeds (e.g., walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds) to provide all necessary nutrients.
Colony size: They start reproducing slowly at first. In the first year, they may raise 30-40 workers, and in the second year, they can reach several hundred workers. Mature colonies have thousands of workers.
Hibernation: It is recommended to hibernate them from late November to March at 5-8°C. For more information about hibernating, check this video.