As a social parasite, the Formica talbotae queen will enter a Formica obscuripe colony, and the residing queen is then either killed or is already absent (5). The invaded nests are large mounds, up to 1.5 metres wide, and contain up to 50,000 host individuals. The chambers that are underneath the surface can extend to over one metre (5) (6).
The mixed colonies that are formed have been observed to be quite small, with one colony in Michigan having only around 6,000 individuals, a third of which were Formica talbotae (5). The colony is thought to be short-lived, as while Formica talbotae inhabits the host colony, no worker ants are produced(5).
The Formica talbotae queen produces winged male and female ants throughout the summer. Larvae and pupae are stored in the lower parts of the nest mound. The brood of Formica talbotae is abundant through the summer until September (5).
As Formica talbotae shares a colony with its host, Formica obscuripes, it is likely to have the same diet. This includes the secretions produced by aphids as well as dead insects (7).
Formica talbotae has a long flying season, stretching from mid-June to late September, and so swarms are not usually seen. Small swarms may occur however, where relatively small numbers of females swarm around the nest, and mate with the males (5).