• Pogonomyrmex rugosus Colony (6-10 workers, Queen)(Mini Hearth Bundle)

    Tar Heel Ants

  • $ 104.99

  • Description

    Tar Heel Ants has permits to ship Pogonomyrmex rugosus to the following states (where these ants are native):

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

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

    ***This listing includes queens/colonies of Pogonomyrmex rugosus found in 2023. *** 

    ***This Bundle Package consists of an ant colony (named in the title) and a Mini Hearth formicarium.  Please use the options to modify your package.***

    Read the following!!!!  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.  

    Why buy from Tar Heel Ants?

    -Queens are hand picked from dozens of queens to be the strongest in number of brood and most actively producing queens.

    -Founded in specialized founding habitats; Genesis test tube Insert system for feeding and maintenance.

    -Raised on organic Dandelion Seeds (by far their most preferred founding stage seed)

    -All shipped colonies are deemed to be in excellent condition at the time of shipping.  

    -Guaranteed Live Arrival -  See Below

    Options Available:

    Seed Boost (Optional)

    Mini Hearth  - All the Mini Hearth connect to each other with magnets.

    Heating Cable

    Nestmate Additions - 

    These Ants Are Notorious for clogging up water sources, this option includes two additional nestmates and a stopper for switching them out quickly.  Cleaning once every two weeks with hot water is recommended.  

      Click this link to see Mini Hearth Options and Explanations  

      The Mini Hearth part of this bundle takes approximately 10-14 days to make from scratch.  We do have some Ready To Ship versions available (premade).  These can be found at this link here.  If you want one of these versions used in your bundle, please indicate this by using the comments box when checking out and type in the model number from the Ready To Ship pages.  If there are additional charges for the specific version you choose, we will contact you by email or phone prior to shipping.  

      ***If you do not make a note in the comments, you can email us after the order is made to let us know what model you want.  Otherwise we will make them as quick as possible, with the 10-14 day time period needed to make them from scratch.  Thank you!

      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 Information:  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 a guide and a couple of videos to serve as tutorials to aid in getting your queen and colony setup properly  We have put significant time and energy into putting together advice on how to best raise them so please read this PDF thoroughly.  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.

      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.


       ***PLEASE READ BEFORE ORDERING - The ants being ordered on this page require being transferred to another habitat within a few days after receiving them.  They are shipped in safe conditions for the mail but have no access to food or water inside their shipping containers.  They can live for quite a long time in these conditions, the humidity inside the shipping container is very high and prevents loss of moisture.  Please do not leave them in these shipping setups after they arrive for more than a few days, they need food and water to continue to grow as a healthy colony!

    Pogonomyrmex rugosus Colony (6-10 workers, Queen)(Mini Hearth Bundle)

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