• Pogonomyrmex rugosus (6-10 workers, Queen)(Ants Only)

    Tar Heel Ants

  • $ 64.99

  • Description


    Pogonomyrmex rugosus is available to ship from Tar Heel Ants to the following states: (we send you the permit with your order) 

    Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah. 

    ***Please Read the Information on the link (here) on our Live Arrival Guarantee.***

    ***PLEASE READ REGARDING VARIATIONS OF THIS SPECIES: Pogonomyrmex rugosus has two different color variants available at our store currently.  (CHOOSE YOUR COLOR- "All Black" or "Red and Black". The more common color of this species is red and black (see main photo taken by Alex Wild).   The other color is a much darker color, almost all black with very little red coloration around the middle and underneath of the ants bodies.  In some cases this color is not even noticeable, and the ants appear all black unless taking macro video or photos.  Other than color, these ants are behaving the same in terms of food, heating, and growth rates."***

    ***Read the following regarding shipping!!!!  Shipping takes place during the first part of the week, typically Monday, Tuesday and again on Saturday.  We do not ship towards the end of the week due to carriers not delivering on Sunday.  Ants are only shipped during weather conditions that are deemed safe for them to survive, so please keep that in mind as you wait on your ants to be mailed.  Each colony must be moved to a shipping container which takes 2-3 days.  Having said this, ants do not ship the same day they are ordered.  Contact us at tarheelants@gmail.com with any other questions regarding shipping.***  

    General Information

    (care guide also inlcuded with purchase)

    Common Name: Harvester Ant

     Scientific Name: Pogonomyrmex rugosus

    Species Size: Large (workers medium sized in founding stages)

    Growth Rate: Fast

    Special: Require Heating 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit optimal (Heat Cable, Heat Pad, Heat Lamp).  

    Diet: Seeds, Insect Protein (suggest fruit flies, mealworms, dubia roaches).  While we have fed these ants dandelion seeds alone during their time with us, one research study has shown evidence that suggest additional protein sources also contribute to the development of a mature colony.(Whitford and Jackson (2007) )

    (This informational section is a continuous work in progress as we study, receive feedback, and learn more about these ants)

    Natural Behavior and HabitatPogonomyrmex rugosus is a large ant species, over ½” in length for the larger workers and queens.  Like other members of the Pogonomyrmex genus, these ants can sting and are also poor climbers.  They are poor at climbing sheer, smooth surfaces including acrylic and glass (effectively making the stinging aspect much easier to negate). 

    Pogonomyrmex rugosus is one of the most widely distributed members of their genus (see distribution map on antwiki.org) along with Pogonomyrmex barbatus, a sister species.  There is numerous research articles on these two species available online for further reading on these ants.  I highly recommend reviewing these studies.  There is significant information available to help determine care strategies for Pogonomyrmex rugosus, which is a quite extraordinary for those of us interested in keeping ants as pets.  (For example: Pogonmyrmex barbatus, in all but the driest of survivable habitats, produces more workers over the same time period compared to Pogonomyrmex rugosus.  Not only are numbers of workers highest, but the times from egg to worker are faster as well.  Pogonomyrmex rugosus, in contrast, was found to have higher numbers of founding colonies survive in drought conditions. (R. Johnson, 1998).  Translation for keeping them as pets: This information would aid in understanding why they develop slower than their sister species Pogonomyrmex barbatus, and would have smaller colonies particularly in the founding stages.  Personal observations, while very close and not quite as significant as the research indicates, would seem to concur with this evaluation.  Also, these ants would likely do better in a dryer nest than their sister species, but would not be a strong recommendation for a type of habitat.  Higher humidity in the founding area (water tower location) is still recommended.

    Natural History

    Colonies in the wild can grow to a size of several thousand workers or larger, and thrive on a diet heavily consisting of grass and other seeds found near their nests.  They do take in protein sources from dead insects and animals as well when available.  

    Care Recommendations


    Grass seeds, dandelion seeds, and other seeds that are available in organic or untreated states.  Smaller seeds should be offered primarily for founding colonies, and a variety is important if you are unsure if a certain seed is preferred as a food source.  Dandelion seeds and Kentucky Blue Grass Seeds are confirmed as highly beneficial, and we will update this page with more information on additional food sources as time goes on.  Fruit flies or small dubia roaches are also recommended in cases where seeds are not available, as they are small food items, high in nutrients, and the trash is easily removed from the nest as well.

    Due to their nature and slender bodies, a steady supply of clean drinking water is extremely important to these ants.  Even short periods without water will cause the workers to consume brood to stay well hydrated. One of the signs of not enough drinking water is a diminishing or constantly small brood pile.  (NOTE: Pogonomyrmex spp. are notorious for clogging up water sources.  This is a defensive reaction to potential flooding around their habitat.  Check your water supplies often to ensure they have not done this.)


    Heating these ants with artificial heat sources such as heat cables, lamps, or pads is a must.  A minimum recommended temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90 or more is acceptable.  At higher temperatures, it is recommended to rotate warm and cooler periods is also recommended (to simulate day and night temperatures).

    Habitat Recommendations:

    Formicaria recommendations for founding colonies are Mini Hearths, Lair, Fallen Fortress, Fortress, and other well-ventilated formicaria with a substrate coating.  This is important in case of accidental flooding inside their nest.  The seeds they store must be kept dry constantly or they will spoil.

    These ants can experience a normal diapause, or they can also be kept warm year-round.  Much of the species primary habitat is in areas of the Southern U.S. and Mexico with extremely mild winters. 

    Warranty:  The delivery of these ants alive is guaranteed.  Having said that, you are expected to make arrangements to be available to receive your ants if the temperature is too warm or too cold on the day of arrival.    If there is any problem with delivery you must contact us immediately by email or phone.  After the ants arrive, we cannot guarantee their survival but have prepared recommendations and care sheet to aid in care for your new ant colony.  Email us at tarheelants@gmail.com with comments or questions.

    If your queen does not arrive alive please be prepared to provide evidence (unfortunately this is required for replacement) and answer a few short questions so we can try to understand what may have gone wrong during shipping.  Problems are very rare but when they do occur contact us by email or phone (919) 348-3642 immediately.  Warranty is voided if left in outside for more than one hour after arrival at your address.

    How are they shipped? 

    There are several layers of protection to help protect your queen(s) during shipping.  In all cases they are shipped inside our proprietary genesis inserts to keep them safe from drowning and protect their brood during shipping.   During warm conditions we will ship them ice packs.  They come inside a puncture resistant tube as well.




Pogonomyrmex rugosus (6-10 workers, Queen)(Ants Only)

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