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UA's Formica Files

formica journal utah

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#1 Offline UtahAnts - Posted February 21 2022 - 9:07 PM


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I'm starting this thread to focus solely on my Formica colonies. Here's the original journal. At the moment, I have 5 colonies, each a different species. Identifying ants is not my strong suit, let alone Formica species. I'll list the colonies in order from largest to smallest in colony size. Colony B might not even be Formica, I'm still undecided. Hopefully as I get better pictures on this thread some people can step in and ID some of these species.


Colony A: Around 150 workers. Queen from my area in Utah Valley (spanish fork to provo).

Colony B: Around 50 workers. Colony from southern Utah Valley

Colony C: 30 workers, likely a subsericia group species. I found the queen in my area.

Colony D: 10 Workers. Queen from up north near Idaho

Colony E: 8 Workers. Colony from the same location as colony B


Colony A


2020 seaon

Queen was found in the 2020 season (sometime around late June). Due to toxic particles in their firebrick nest, most of the colony died off. I moved the remaining workers and queen out into one of my first home-made nests. When they came out hibernation, only four workers were left.

ant plaster coated.jpg


March 15 2021

I moved them into a THA mini hearth.

Attached File  IMG-0468.jpg   182.94KB   2 downloads


April 22

Lots of new brood!

Attached File  IMG-0789.jpg   238.68KB   2 downloads


May 26 

Around 30 workers now, tons of insects being eaten every day. They created a chamber of sand over their water tower, limiting sight.

Attached File  IMG-1147.jpg   183.96KB   2 downloads
June 4

Most of the larvae pupate

Attached File  IMG-1223.jpg   320.45KB   2 downloads
June 26
Large population boom, moved them into a handmade nest.
IMG-1656 (1).jpg



No more brood, around 150 workers.



February 21 2022

Out of hibernation, the colony already took protien today. The areas around the water towers look dark from defecation and over hydration on my part.

Attached File  IMG-4548.jpg   307.31KB   2 downloads

Edited by UtahAnts, February 21 2022 - 9:09 PM.

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#2 Offline UtahAnts - Posted April 5 2022 - 8:29 AM


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Colony A (formica neorufibarbis): Around 150 workers and around 50 fat larvae

Colony B: 7 queens 50 workers, piles of eggs, larvae and pupae

Colony C (subsericea group): 30 workers, selling this colony off next week

Queen of colony D died, adding new colony in their place (2 queen 1 worker Formica subsericea)

Colony E: 3 queens 20 Workers. Eggs and Larvae


Images taken 4/4/22


Colony A

I moved colony A, F. neorufibarbis, into a THA type 1 fortress. They are staying in the lowest chambers with all their brood, making it difficult to get clear images. As the colony grows I'll be able to get better pictures. In the mean time here's some foragers breaking a cricket up


IMG 7236
IMG 7177

Colony B

They are in a tubs and tubes setup, planning on moving them out soon


IMG 7168



Colony D

Lots of brood


Dual Formica
IMG 7229

Edited by UtahAnts, April 5 2022 - 8:30 AM.

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Leave the road, take the trails -Pythagoras

#3 Online ANTdrew - Posted April 5 2022 - 9:10 AM


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Nice work with these!
"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#4 Offline UtahAnts - Posted May 18 2022 - 2:12 PM


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Colony A (formica neorufibarbis): Around 250 workers and brood

Colony B: 7 queens 90 workers, piles of eggs, larvae and pupae

Colony D 2 queen Formica subsericea: 10 workers and larvae

Colony E: 3 queens 30 Workers. Eggs and Larvae


Colony A

Starting to fill their fortress with loads of brood. It seems spring time is the main grow time for this species.




IMG 7487
IMG 7489

Today: Some brood in the outworld. Now the colony has basically doubled in size from the last image


IMG 5257

Colony B

This colony goes crazy for sugar, I opened their outworld and they freaked out becuase they had brood there. They started running around but then discovered the sugar drops. Who needs pupae anyways?




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#5 Offline UtahAnts - Posted June 13 2022 - 12:28 PM


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Colony A (formica neorufibarbis): Around 300 workers and brood

Colony B: 6 queens 150 workers, piles of eggs, larvae and pupae

Colony D 2 queen Formica subsericea: 30 workers and larvae

Colony E: 3 queens 30 Workers. Growth seems to have stalled, it may be time to move them out of their dirt container.

NEW Colony F: Parasitic Formica species: 10 workers and host pupae along with a dozen parasite larvae.


Colony A

They are now using the entire fortress, I'll need a new nest for them by August so I'm planning on making them something pretty cool. One of the brood chambers, most of my colonies are now hanging brood from the ceiling, maybe to create a better humidity gradient within each chamber?


IMG 7802



Colony C

I moved this colony into a basic petri nest, it's quite interesting to see them sepate parts of the petri dish with dirt, creating their own chambers but not completely limiting visibility. The main chamber is in the bottom left of the image. I've never had problems with condensation for Formica species, and if anything it seems to contribute to the needed humidity gradient.


IMG 5613
IMG 7805



Colony F

I don't want to disturb them too much so any pictures I take right now will have poor quality. I know it's unlikely anyone will be able to identify down to species from this image, but any suggestions? Queen is about 11mm long.


IMG 7815


Leave the road, take the trails -Pythagoras

#6 Offline United-Ants - Posted June 13 2022 - 1:33 PM


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Colony a is formica montana
colony f will have to wate till workers if they keep growing after geting first workers they are formica rufa group if they stop growing then they are formica sangweana group
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#7 Offline UtahAnts - Posted June 13 2022 - 2:54 PM


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I found that the queen of colony A and a Formica neorufibarbis queen seem to be the same in size and coloration. I suppose Formica montanus could also be an option, and they seem to be a rarer species as well.



Formica neorufibarbis queen from ant wiki key:


1200px Mcz ent00668808 Formica neorufibarbis queen Had



Colony A queen:


Formica queen


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