Pogonomyrmex californicus

From Ant Keeping Wiki

Pogonomyrmex californicus, or California harvester ant, is native to North America, where it occurs in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.


Queen California harvester ant
  • Nuptial Flight Time : April-August after rainfall
  • Founding Type: Semi-Claustral
  • *gynous : Monogynous; one population has been noted to contain multiple queens.
  • Brood Boostable : Yes
  • Hibernation : Yes, 3-4 months during winter months.
  • Feeding Requirements : Solids like seeds required once a week, sugar water welcomed
  • Nanitics Appear After :
  • Founding Stage Notes: During founding phase, queens prefer dark area's and will move brood into darker test tube if given chance. Without a dark area the queens tend to forage and explore more often, possibly stressing the queen unnecessarily. Blacking out test tubes with electrical tape seems to work best. After workers appear, they may be uncovered. Best to let them found with/in soil; Increases eggs produced. It's also very important to keep temp above 60F. They will stop laying eggs if nest is always below this temperature.


Every ant, even from same species may be temperamental to certain foods. Trial and error is best way to figure out she will eat. Compiled below is a list of likes and dislikes for this particular species.


  • Seeds: Thistle, Millet, Flax (Blue), Rapeseed (Rapa), Bermuda grass, Buffalo Grass, Kentucky Blue Grass, Prairie Aster, Desert Marigold, Farewell to spring, Plains coreopsis, California poppy, Mexican gold poppy, Indian Blanket, Bird's Eyes, Tidy Tips, Arizona Lupine, Arroyo Lupine, Blazing Star, Five Spot, White Evening Primrose, Snowy Pink Ev. Primrose, California Bluebell, Mexican Hat
  • Honey
  • Sugar Water
  • Plain Oats
  • Flies
  • Darkling Beetles
  • Mealworms (darkling beetle larvae)
  • Moths
  • Crickets
  • Dubia roaches


  • Almonds
  • Blood


  • Difficulty : Easy
  • Typical Colony Size : ~2k
  • Polymorphic : No
  • Ant Length :
  • Temperament : Protective
  • Suggested Feeding Schedule :
  • Hazards : Bite + Sting - 7/10
  • Colony Growth Rate : Medium
  • Egg To Worker : 23 days @ 77°F; 2x longer at colder temp
  • Circadian Activity : Diurnal
  • Recommended Temperature : Nest: 15.5-25°C/60-77°F; Outworld: 51°C/124°F Max
  • Recommended Humidity : 30%
  • Heating Pad Required : Yes, if nest may get colder than 60°F
  • Can Climb Smooth Surfaces : No
  • When To Expand :
  • When Do Soldiers and Reproductives Appear :
  • Invasive/Pest : No
  • Farmers : No
  • Native Location : United States: Western Texas, southern New Mexico, southern Utah, Arizona, western Nevada, southern California; Mexico: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua. antmaps.org
  • Natural Habitat : Open, warm, and sandy areas
  • Preferred Nesting Medium : Soil
  • Scientific Information: antwiki.org