Oecophylla smaragdina

Oecophylla smaragdina

Common name: The Orange Weaver Ant.


     This is a well-known species that constructs its nests from leaves, that are held together by strands of silk woven by its larvae.

     The workers are quite variable in size. The smaller workers only measure 3-4 mm and these take care of the queen and brood. In time as the colony grows larger major workers / soldiers are produced and these do the hunting and defend the colony. These can be 12 mm in size and are armed with powerful mandibles. They are aggressive strong ants and will vigorously attack anything they find within their territory. They are an attractive orange color - this also serves as a warning to predators that they are dangerous.

     The new queens found colonies independently and start their nests in a single folded leaf, but colonies increase in size quickly and after 3-4 months they will be using two or three leaves, and then within a year will have a nest the size of a clenched fist. From this stage onwards they expand very quickly.

     Mature colonies can have 500,000 workers and these colonies will construct several large sub nests scattered amongst all the nearby trees. These sub nests are used to store excess food and provide a source of worker recruitment when potential food is found nearby.    

     Their favorite food seems to be sweet secretions from insects living on the trees, but they also vigorously hunt insects and larger colonies will forage across the ground near the base of the trees.

     Colonies are very difficult to establish from just queens and frequently fail in the early stages. With this in mind we recommend that you avoid the cheap offers available for single queens and whenever possible choose an option with workers.


     Finding new queens of this species is very difficult as they don’t have mass swarms like normal ants, are not found on the ground, and are not attracted to artificial lights.

     This shortage and difficulty in finding new queens has made this one of the most frequently scammed species we know. It is common knowledge amongst the ant trade that sellers of this species are shipping ‘queens’ that are in reality female alates that have had their wings removed by the collectors. These cheap so-called queens are being shipped in large numbers to sellers in Europe. And some unscrupulous sellers are then brood boosting them to give the impression of young colonies. We have seen this happen with at least one seller in the UK who buys in these infertile queens then gives them brood and from an established stock colony, before selling them on. Infertile queens will even lay eggs giving the impression of young queens, but the eggs will never mature or will be eaten at a later date.

     All queens we offer for sale are collected by myself and kept until they have raised their first brood to ensure they are fertile. All this takes time and the queens are only found in small numbers so they are priced accordingly - but you can be sure that they are fertile.