Dorymyrmex bureni (aka) The Pyramid Ant or Cone Ant Care Sheet

Written by Michael Borden

I have put together a care sheet regarding the ant species known as Dorymyrmex bureni (aka) The Pyramid Ant or Cone Ant. I found this species fascinating and admire the beautiful orange coloration of the workers. This care sheet contains information from personal experience and notes, as well as research from the University of Florida Entomology Dept.

Scientific Name: Dorymyrmex bureni
Common Name(s): Pyramid Ant or Cone Ant
Genus- Dorymyrmex
Order- Hymenoptera
Family- Formicidae

Average Size In Millimeters:
Workers are monomorphic in this species.
Queen: 6mm-6.5mm
Drone: 5.5mm-6mm
Worker: 3mm-4mm

Endemic to Mexico and the United States.
Primarily abundant in Southeastern US.

Queen Founding Method: Fully Claustral    
Monogyne/Polygyne: Strictly Monogyne
*Only one queen per colony*

Mating/Nuptial Flight:
Flights occur from April into late August after a rainfall on warm humid evenings. Mating takes place in flight starting from sundown and lasts until sunrise. Nuptial flights might be different in other states.

Primary Diet: Wild & Captive Colonies
Carbohydrates- Sugar water, maple syrup, honey, strawberry milk syrup, junk foods, soda, fruit juices, insect honeydew, and flower nectar.
Proteins- Living & dead insects, softened meats, hard boiled egg yolk, liquid protein syrup, fire ant brood and alates, and dog food,

Temperature In Captivity:
77-78 degrees farenheit for cool side, and 80-86 degrees fahrenheit for warm side is optimal. Dorymyrmex bureni are also a sub-tropical species and like a certain amount of heat more so than most. A 15 watt reptile heating cable applied to one side of the nest is sufficient for them. I dont recommend temperatures above 88 degrees due to chance of killing your ants. Half the nest should remain cool so the ants can adjust when needed. I found that 78-79 degrees fahrenheit during the queens founding stage improved her productivity with founding egg production.

Dorymyrmex bureni require humidity for hydration, and proper growth of their brood. 40-50% humidity on one portion of the nest is sufficient. Water towers are great devices to help balance humidity. Watch for signs of mold or excessive condensation buildup. Buy and place a hydrometer for accurate humidity reading of nest.

Bite/Sting Information:
Not an aggressive species by nature unless confronted by Solenopsis invicta. They will defend their nest until death like any other ant species. They are capable of biting, but causes no pain or discomfort to humans. Dorymyrmex bureni are unable to cause any harm to pets or even small children.

Difficulty Rating: Easy
An easy species for beginners or those who have some experience with small ant species. They have the potential to grow quickly through their lifecycle. Beginners might feel overwhelmed due to rapid growth. Patience is needed at times with Dorymyrmex bureni.

Additional Observations/Personal Notes/Facts:

1. Cleverly nicknamed Pyramid Ants or Cone Ants for the classic shape of their nest entrances. They shape nest entrances to resemble an inverted pyramid or cone within sandy soil which they prefer. They also possess a triangular (Pyramid) shaped structure located on top of the thorax.

2. Dorymyrmex bureni are not a pest species and do not inhabit homes or other building structures. They do enjoy honeydew liquid produced by plant sucking pests and will guard the plant pests from predatory threats. This species causes no harm or damage to plants, crops, or flowers.

3. Dorymyrmex bureni are often found nesting nearby Solenopsis invicta (Red Imported Fire Ants) colonies. Pyramid Ants are well known to hunt Solenopsis invicta workers, brood and their newly fertile queens that land after nuptial flights. Dorymyrmex bureni are also known to completely displace nearby Solenopsis invicta colonies.

4. Pyramid Ant workers when purposely or accidentally crushed, give off a strong coconut-like odor. Simply wash your hands to rid of the odor.

5. Dorymyrmex bureni are noted for their incredibly quick and agile movements. I noted that founding queens can spook easily as well as workers. Avoid stressing out this species unless the nest needs to be cleaned, doing colony transfers or feeding times.

6. I want to mention that this species has never refused any food item I offered. I noticed however that they will favor sweets over other food sources. NEVER place live crickets with your ants. Crickets can deliver a fatal kick which will kill your workers. Either pre-kill crickets or remove both hind legs before offering.

7. Dorymyrmex bureni workers have an average lifespan of four to eight months. The queen is long lived and has an average lifespan of eight to twelve years. A colony can have roughly several hundred to a few thousand members.7. Dorymyrmex bureni are often welcomed by farmers that grow citrus fruit to help with biological control of citrus fruit pests. Dorymyrmex bureni are notorious for their predatory nature of citrus harming insects.8. Entomologists are studying ways that Dorymyrmex bureni can further help us In biological and environmental control of Solenopsis invicta ants.

thank you for reading this Community sourced Care sheet, service provided by Ant Essentials.

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