How To Care for Lasius Emarginatus

Hi guys! I hope you’re doing well!

Today we’re going to learn how to care for a very common species of ant: Lasius emarginatus! By the end of the guide, you will have all the information needed to start growing your own Lasius emarginatus colony all by yourself!

Let’s get right into it!


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If you don’t have time right now to read the care guide, don’t worry! You can download it and read it whenever you like! Download the CV of this species by using the button below!


Lasius emarginatus inside test tube

Lasius emarginatus is a small-sized fast-growing species of ant, very easy to find all across the European continent. Very similar to Lasis niger, this species can be effortlessly recognized by its characteristic reddish thorax, very visible in the workers and the queens.

Lasius emarginatus loves to nest in the dirt, where they dig complex and intricate tunnel systems. This species can also easily be found in very dense urban areas, like small towns and cities, where they nest under sidewalks, in gardens, and between the cracks in the walls.

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The workers of this species range between 2.5 and 5 mm. Just like in the majority of ant species, the queen of Lasius emarginatus is bigger than the workers, with a size of approximately 8 to 9 mm.

Lasius emarginatus is monogyne, meaning that the colonies of this species accept only one queen. However, in some rare cases, multiple queens can start a colony together, especially during a very large mating flight.

The nuptial flights of this species usually occur in the summer, between June and early September.


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Just like other species from the same genus, Lasius emarginatus is very adaptable to temperature changes. They do not have very strict temperature requirements, and they can easily be kept at room temperature.

However, if you wanna get the best results, the ideal temperature for this species is between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius. If you live in a cold area or you usually use an air conditioner in the room your ants are in, maybe a heat mat or a heat cable can be a useful ally.

Lasius emarginatus inside test tube

By raising the temperature of the nest the metabolism of the brood will accelerate, reducing the time needed for the ant to fully develop into adults.

If provided with the right temperature and humidity levels, the colonies of Lasius emarginatus can grow quite fast! Once a certain worker count is reached, the colony starts to grow exponentially, reaching outstanding numbers in a few years’ time!


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They like a range of moisture that goes from 50% to 60%. One thing you have to consider is that, like most ant species, Lasius emarginatus doesn’t like extremely dry climates!

If you notice that your nest dries out too quickly, you may have to consider changing the setup a bit. You can rearrange the elements of your formicarium, in order to create an environment that better maintains a stable level of moisture.

If you have a naturalistic setup, you can easily increase the moisture level by spraying some water using a normal spray bottle, like the one used in gardening. You can also add some moisture retention materials, like some pieces of wood or a bark substrate.


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Like almost every ant species, Lasius emarginatus needs a source of sugar for the hard-working workers, and some proteins for the queen and the brood. Given their fast growth rate, they need quite a lot of proteins.

Proteins are the building blocks of every animal body, and are essential for the healthy development of ants. The queen needs protein for the production of the eggs, which, with a little bit of time and patience, will grow into larvae and then into pupae.

During the ant life cycle from egg to adult worker, the brood needs lots of proteins to successfully complete the various stage changes. Once the body of the ant is fully formed, the need for protein fades out, and the need for sugar takes its place.

Sugar water should do the job fairly well, providing the colony with all the energy it needs to create an amazing nest and to bring the heavy pieces of food inside the formicarium. Honey is also an extremely good source of healthy sugar, maybe mixed with some water to make it a little less dense and easier to drink.

But if you wanna go for the best possible sugar source, the Ant Antics sugar snaps are the product for you!

Ant Antics sugar snaps

With these fantastic colorful little bottles you can give your ants a very high-quality source of sugar, fueling their all-day-long working routine! With the sugar snaps you can be sure about one thing: your ants are going to love them!

As a source of protein, you can give them almost every type of insect. In the wild they usually eat crickets, different types of worms, fruit flies, and spiders. In a nutshell, everything they find on their path!

If you’re reading this guide, there’s a very high chance you’re just starting out, and that you just caught or bought your first Lasius emarginatus queen ant. If that’s the case, you don’t have to worry too much about feeding at this stage.

That’s because this species of ant is fully claustral, which means that the queen won’t need to eat for at least a month, until she has her first workers. She especially doesn’t need protein right now, because she can obtain the protein she needs from the decomposition of her wing muscles.

However, if you want, you can give her a little drop of honey water. This should give her the right amount of energy she needs to start her own ant colony!


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Like most European ant species, Lasius emarginatus needs a period of hibernation. They hibernate through the winter, from around late October to early March. They need at least a couple of months of diapause, a biological phase in which the queen doesn’t lay eggs.

This phase is very important for the health of the queen, and it’s the only time in the whole year when she can peacefully take some rest.

For this species, the ideal temperature for hibernation is between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. I would not suggest going a lot lower than this, as in some cases, very low temperatures for long periods of time can cause irreversible damage to the long-term growth of the colony.

If you haven’t any available refrigerator you can put the colony in the basement or in the garage, where the temperature is not too low and not too high.

If you’re a beginner ant keeper and this is your first hibernation, I would strongly suggest you check out this other guide! Here I explain in detail every aspect of this complex process called hibernation! What it is, why ants hibernate, and what are the most effective ways to hibernate your beloved ants!

Nest Type

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Ytong Nest

DIY ytong ant nest

In my opinion, one of the best options when it comes to choosing a formicarium for Lasius emarginatus is a very basic but effective Ytong nest!

If you are new to the hobby and you never heard of it, Ytong is a particular type of aerated concrete, usually used in construction as an insulation material. It is very popular in ant keeping for its moisture-retention properties, and it’s perfect for housing a colony of this species!

Ytong is the perfect material for ant keepers who love to make DIY projects all by themselves! It has all the characteristics for making it one of the best materials for hand-made ant nests: It is extremely easy to sculpt, it’s easy to find in almost every hardware store, and it’s also a very cheap material!

If you like the idea of making your own Ytong ant nest, I would suggest you check out this other tutorial! In this article, I explain in detail how to make one of these very cool types of nest using very basic tools!

Apart from all the other amazing properties of this material, another advantage of using this type of nest is that it creates a strong contrast with the ants. The workers of this species are of a very dark color, and given that the Ytong is almost always completely white, it makes watching the ants extremely easy and enjoyable!

Sandwich Nest

Antstore antcube arena combi

Another valid option for housing this species is a more classic sandwich nest. This very simple type of setup consists of two transparent panels placed one near the other, separated by a small space filled with dirt or some type of sand.

With this cool nest configuration, the ant keeper can watch the ants dig tunnels in the dirt, creating the structure of the formicarium as they please!

If you are interested in this type of nest, I would suggest you check out this review! It’s the amazing glass sandwich nest in the picture above, made by the German company Antstore!

Acrylic Nest

WaKooshi mercury nest


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Get this extremely cool ant nest on the WaKooshi online shop! Use the discount code “BRUMA” to get 10% off your entire order!


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Last but not least, an acrylic ant nest. These particular types of nests are made using some kind of plastic, and are optimal for housing almost every species of ant!

They are usually built using 3D printing or laser cutting technology, and are extremely easy to find on every online shop dedicated to ant keeping!

If you like this concept, I would suggest you check out this product review! It’s the review of the extremely cool ant nest in the picture above!


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Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
Lasius emarginatus inside test tube
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I hope you have found this guide helpful!

Closed test tube setup

If you just found your queen and wanna know how to create the perfect environment for her, check out this guide on how to make a test tube setup! This is the perfect way to start your ant colony!

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