Formica cinerea Care Sheet

A Guide By,  Antsknowledge

Max Colony Size:



These ants are able and will spray Formica acid at any intruders, even their food.


This species is not polygynous and if mixed with other queens, will fight until one remains.

Experience level:

beginner-friendly, you should get them after you have at least a couple of thriving colonies.

Country or region of origin:

They are native to most of Europe and many parts of Asia though they have invaded parts of the USA.

Recommended Set-Up:

Small colonies prefer and thrive in test tubes though when the colony starts reaching a moderate size, it’s recommended to move to a nest where they have humid and dry chambers.

Hydration and Food: 

Formica cinerea has a vast preference of food, they will eat crickets, locusts, mealworms, roaches, dipterans, protein jelly, honey, sugar water and maple syrup. As stated above, there should always be a humid area in the 70%range and lower humidity in the 40% range as that is where they will store pupae and mature larvae.

Colony Activity and Cleaning Guidance:

These species are very active, and like all Formica, are very fast-moving and growing! They are very aggressive against anything that isn’t part of their colony and will eat tons! many times, as soon as I’ll feed them they will immediately spray their food and carry the food in the nest where it can be processed by the whole colony. They will need cleaning in the outworld after the next day you’ve fed them as usually they will devour the food in hours and leave the exoskeleton of insects as soon as their done though sometimes they will keep it in their nest for a few days. They are very active and I recommend them to all ant keepers! The brood also develops quickly and take 3-5 weeks to turn from egg to worker.

Species Information:

These species colonies can reach 10.000 workers with a single queen, they are able and will spray formic acid at any intruders, even already dead insects, they are very fast and therefore when handling them it’s better to be on the lookout for escaped ants that might escape your eyes view, when they go into hibernation, just like all Formica species, they will have no brood, no eggs larvae or pupae, so if the colony still has a little brood before hibernation you can do 1 of the following:(1)let the ants hibernate, therefore killing the brood, or (2) give the ants a late hibernation so that the brood can turn to workers without killing any of it. The queens will also lay dozens, or sometimes hundreds of eggs at once, that’s why they grow fast as the queens go on egg-laying sprees!

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