Neutrophil abscess formation is critical in innate immunity against many pathogens. Here, the mechanism of neutrophil abscess formation was investigated using a mouse model of Staphylococcus aureus cutaneous infection. Gene expression analysis and in vivo multispectral noninvasive imaging during the S. aureus infection revealed a strong functional and temporal association between neutrophil recruitment and IL-1β/IL-1R activation. Unexpectedly, neutrophils but not monocytes/macrophages or other MHCII-expressing antigen presenting cells were the predominant source of IL-1β at the site of infection. Furthermore, neutrophil-derived IL-1β was essential for host defense since adoptive transfer of IL-1β-expressing neutrophils was sufficient to restore the impaired neutrophil abscess formation in S. aureus-infected IL-1β-deficient mice. S. aureus-induced IL-1β production by neutrophils required TLR2, NOD2, FPR1 and the ASC/NLRP3 inflammasome in an α-toxin-dependent mechanism. Taken together, IL-1β and neutrophil abscess formation during an infection are functionally, temporally and spatially linked as a consequence of direct IL-1β production by neutrophils.