Camponotus herculeanus (European Carpenter Ant)
This variety of carpenter ant originates from Central and North Eastern parts of Europe. It's one of the largest European species of ant with visually pleasing colouration as one can observe hues of red and black patterns across its thorax and legs. However, it's slightly smaller than it's close counterpart; the Giant European Carpenter Ant; Camponotus ligniperda. Gasters being typically fully black.
Similarly like the queens, workers are typically red and black. Moreover, they are polymorphic, meaning that workers as small as 3 mm (minors) and individuals as large as 12mm (majors) will develop to coexist within the colony and routinely manage their tasks between them.
In the wild, nests are often found amongst stones and decaying wood in the floor/soil level of mountainous and rural regions of Europe. This species will actually carve out galleries and tunnels out of wood, using just their mandibles and sheer strength to transport these materials out of the nest whilst 'excavating'!
They are a relatively fast species of ant and quite aggresive too! This ant that is suitable for beginners. In terms of growth they are quite fast to develop once the colony reaches 50 workers and over. Due to the nature of their natural environment, these ants are active throughout most of the year but would benefit from a hibernation period between December - March.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.