Brachymyrmex patagonicus Care Sheet

This is a caresheet regarding the species Brachymyrmex patagonicus (Dark Rover Ants) that I put together using personal notes and information gathered from the University of Florida Entomology Department and the Mississippi Entomological Museum. 

Scientific Name: Brachymyrmex patagonicus
Common Name(s): Dark Rover Ant
Genus- Brachymyrmex
Order- Hymenoptera
Family- Formicidae

Average Size In Millimeters:
Workers are monomorphic within this species.
Queen: 3mm
Drone: 0.8mm-1mm
Worker: 1.5mm-2mm

Native to South America and was discovered within the United States in 1972. Abundantly found within the Southeastern & Southwestern US.

Queen Founding Method:
Fully Claustral

Monogyne/Polygyne:Strictly Monogyne 

Mating/Nuptial Flight:
Flights occur from May into late August after a rainfall on warm humid evenings. Mating takes place while in flight starting from late evening and lasting until sunrise. Nuptial flights might be different in other US states depending on weather conditions.

Primary Diet: Wild & Captive Colonies
Carbohydrates- Sugar water, maple syrup, honey, strawberry milk syrup, cookies, candies soda, fruit juices, insect honeydew, and flower nectar.
Proteins- Living & dead insects, protein syrup, hard boiled egg yolk, soft meats, and various pet foods.

Temperature In Captivity:
76-78 degrees farenheit for cool side, and 79-82 degrees fahrenheit for warm side is optimal. Brachymyrmex patagonicus like a certain amount of heat for themselves and their brood. 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 baking your ants. Half the nest should remain cool so the ants can adjust as needed.

Brachymyrmex patagonicus require humidity for hydration, and proper growth of their brood. 40-50% humidity within 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 within nest.

Bite/Sting Information:
Brachymyrmex patagonicus can bite, but are way to small to cause any kind of pain or damage to human adults, children or pets. They are not capable of stinging.

Difficulty Rating: Easy
An easy species for beginners or for those who have some experience with small ant species. Beginners should be aware that since this species is really small, their enclosure/formicarium needs to be properly sealed to prevent any escape. Brachymyrmex patagonicus are capable of growing rapidly depending on environmental factors and food consumption.

Additional Observations/Personal Notes/Facts:
1. Brachymyrmex patagonicus is considered a major pest species and can often be found within houses, hospitals, restaurants, and nursing home facilities. They can be incredibly difficult to manage or eradicate once found inside a structure.
2. Brachymyrmex patagonicus are very attracted to sweets such as sugary candies, cookies, spilled sugar grains, soda, cereals and even marshmallows. They will raid a human residence, hospital or nursing home when the scent is picked up by foraging workers. Captive colonies are not picky on food types, and prefer sugary foods first before others.
3. Male alates (aka) Drones are incredibly minute in size. They have been measured at 0.8mm up to 1mm in length. It can be difficult to locate the drones due to size, even among light traps at night.
4. Both fertile and infertile queens after nuptial flights are preyed upon heavily by Solenopsis invicta (Red Imported Fire Ants), Dorymyrmex bureni (Pyramid Ants), and Monomorium minimum (Little Black Ant) workers. Ant species native to other US states also prey upon Rover Ant queens. Despite the many Dark Rover Ant queens falling prey to other species, they are to numerous for any predator to make an impact on their numbers.
5. Brachymyrmex patagonicus are not known to cause or spread any disease to humans or other animals when found foraging inside structures.
6. When feeding your Brachymyrmex patagonicus colony any liquids, use tiny drops or they can get trapped within the liquid and drown. Insect protein sources should be cut up finely to allow easier feedings for workers.

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