Lasius niger (Cheapest UK Retailer 2020)
- Scientific Name Lasius niger
- Country of Origin Great Britain but also found all over Europe
- Easy, Skilled, Specialist Easy
- Colony size 1000+ workers
- Expected life expectancy 7 -12 years for Queens
- Habitat Mostly urban area, stones, under pavements, soil
- Queen size 6-9mm
- Worker size 3- 5 mm
- Behaviour Bold ants that arent afraid to take on other larger species,
Lasius niger have four stages of development: egg, larva, cocoon, and adult. Lasius nigerlay tiny, white, kidney-shaped eggs with a smooth sticky surface which helps them to be carried in a group instead of one by one. After hatching Lasius niger proceed onto the larva stage resembling tiny maggots. The larvae need to be fed by the queen (or workers in the case of an established colony) if they are to mature; as they feed the larvae grow, shedding their skin, doing so usually three times in total. With each molt, the larvae grow hooked hairs which allow them to be carried in groups. When Lasius niger larvae reach the last molt they are generally too big to be carried as part of a group and so are carried singly. Once the larva grows big enough it spins a cocoon around itself. To aid this process a queen (or workers) may bury the larva so that it can spin its cocoon undisturbed, and begin a process of metamorphosis. Once the process is complete the Lasius niger worker emerges from the cocoon. At this stage Lasius niger is completely white but will darken over the course of an hour until it has turned black.
- Defence Happy to defend their territory and are known to raid other smaller nests and steal pupae. If adequate escape protection isn't given they will raid and attack other formicariums!
- Warning Nil
- Venomous Nil
- Nuptial flight Late June, July and August
- Food They will farm aphids and scale for the honeydew they excrete, bringing them from host plant to host plant spreading these other garden pests to new healthy plants. The ants will also eat ripe fruits, especially fruits like strawberries that lack a thick protective skin. Lasius niger also feed on insects and spiders, and other small invertabrates.
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