Getting Yourself Started
What Makes Ants the right pet for you?
Ants are interesting animals. They are the few animals on Earth to have a social society that is as intricate as humankind.
They stock on supplies, practice agriculture, have disputes, and some maintain slaves or even end up taking over an entire rival colony in the process to expand their numbers.
With the exception of the polar areas, ants are found everywhere. They are among the most successful insects and one of the most dominant animals on the planet because of their social tendencies.
Ants are incredibly adaptable to their conditions, which makes them excellent pets. Especially the majority of the "common species." They are hardy, relatively easy to maintain, and there are many diverse kinds that will 100% tick the box off what you are looking for.
Prior to Keeping Ants
If these steps are followed I guarantee you the best experience starting the hobby.
Do your research: Before you start ant keeping, it is important to do your research and learn as much as you can about ants. There are many different species of ants, each with its unique characteristics and requirements. You should also learn about the different types of ant farms/nests that are available, and decide which one is best for your needs.
Choose the right species: Once you have done your research, it is time to choose the right species of ants for your ant farm/nest. Some species are easier to care for than others, so it is important to choose a species that is suitable for beginners. Some good species to start with include the Carpenter ant, Garden ant, and European fire ant.
Set up your ant farm: Once you have chosen your species, it is time to set up your ant farm. There are a variety of different types of ant farms/nests available, including plaster, acrylic, soil, and gel farms. (WE DO NOT RECOMMEND GEL FARMS AS THEY DO NOT PROVIDE AT LEAST THE BARE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR PROPER ANT HOUSING) You should choose a farm that is appropriate for the species of ants you have chosen, and make sure that it is large or small enough to accommodate your colony as it grows.
Feeding: Ants require a steady schedule of food and water to thrive. You can feed your ants a variety of foods, including sugar water, honey, and small insects. Carbohydrates should be fed at least once a week and protein (insects) should be fed at least 1-2 times every week. It is important to provide your ants with a source of water which can be easily done in our formicariums for sale.
Observe and learn: Once your ant farm/nest is set up and your ants are settled in, it is time to start observing and learning about your colony. You can watch your ants as they forage for food, communicate with each other, and care for their young.
Starting the Actual Keeping
Simple yet complex, just like every other domestic pet you need to give it adequate care and attention. Starting a colony from just a singular queen might burn you out waiting for workers. Though, do not give up because, once you get the ants going, they won't slow down. Depending on the species care will vary. From applying correct humidity, providing ideal temperatures, and proper food will determine how successful the colony will be.
The first and really important key component to successfully rear a colony is waiting/patience, most colonies can grow relatively fast like the genus Tetramorium (pavement ants) or Lasius (garden ants). Though, for the slower genus like Camponotus (carpenter ants) and cryptic species (specialized and slow growing) waiting for them to get workers might be boredom inducing. If you manage to persist throughout this period of what seems like no progress then you will be greatly rewarded by the outcome. Usually, the slower growth is quite the drawback, but there are things to enjoy about them. Like how they can produce bigger workers of different sizes or have astonishing body structures, and, even extremely appealing colours. Camponotus castaneus is a prime example of this description.
Another really important factor to have a successful colony is diapause.
Within the ant keeping community, it is frequently referred to as "hibernation," but this term is only applicable to endothermic animals such as mammals and birds. Therefore, the correct term for ants and other invertebrates is diapause. It is crucial to understand this distinction.
If you reside in the temperate regions of the northern or southern hemisphere, your native ants may become inactive during certain times of the year, similar to reptiles and amphibians. This is not limited to North American and European ants; Africa, Asia, Oceania, and South America all have their own areas where winter temperatures force ants to pause their activity and development until the weather warms up again.
During this period, ants must undergo diapause, which involves little to no activity at temperatures ranging from 1 to 10°C, if the ants originated in the northern hemisphere. Consequently, there is nothing to observe. It is essential to monitor your local ants' winter activity to determine the ideal duration of their diapause.
Diapause is a crucial component of an ant colony's life cycle, and the absence of it can severely disrupt their internal clock, resulting in negative behavior and poor colony performance, including smaller workers, less brood yield, reduced activity, less growth, and possibly the queen's premature death. Therefore, if you intend to keep temperate ants, it is necessary to provide them with a place to cool down and experience their yearly diapause.
When temperatures finally warm up after months of inactivity, it is a significant trigger for the queen to begin laying. Although this period of inactivity may be tedious, it also has advantages, such as allowing you to clean their setup without ant interference, which is particularly useful when dealing with an aggressive or stinging species.
If you have any other questions, please forward them to our "contact" us page. And if you enjoyed this guide, consider purchasing a few colonies and ant nests now that you are ready :)