Tetramorium caespitum (European Pavement Ant)
The European Pavement ant, is a small, slender, brown coloured species. It's typically associated with very numerous and large colonies that are commonly found when disturbing paving slabs found in gardens or nearby parks. Hence, their name "Pavement ant". This species is often found colonising both urban and rural areas, making it a very succesful critter, even considered as invasive in some parts of the US!
In the US particularly, these are often the first species you will see surrounding any remains of sweet, sugary foods that are left unattended or dropped on the floor. Due to their large colony size and behaviour, these are often able to recruit hundreds of workers in a matter of seconds to pin down prey or transport valuable resources to the nest.
In the wild, nests are often found amongst low lying shrubs and ground dwelling plants typically associated with urban habitats. Particularly under stones and slabs or more increasingly, in crevices, such as in exterior, south facing man-made walls.
They are a generally docile species of ant that is very suitable for beginners In terms of growth they are very fast to develop once the colony reaches 10 workers and over. Having the ability to reach 5,000 - 10, 000 nest members in the space of 3-4 years! Due to the nature of their natural environment, these ants are mainly active throughout the year but would benefit from a short period of hibernation from January - March.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.