Ants as Pets | FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
antARK does not sell ants to anyone in any country. antARK does provide external links to reliable companies that sell ant habitats.
In Europe some of the easiest and most common ants that are kept as pets are: black garden ants, yellow meadow ants and red stinging ants.
In America some of the easiest and most common ants that are kept as pets are: black wood ants (Formica fusca), fire ants, red stinging ants, pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) and carpenter ants (Camponontus pennsylvanicus).
All the species above are compatiable with our L1 ant care sheets.
It is always best to keep ant species that are local to your area. Its worth finding out which common species are in your area if you are planning on going out to catch them. The best way to do this is to use our regional ant locator, browse to your country and search for common ant species. If this fails you can use the search bar at the top right of the screen i.e. searching ‘common ant species England’. AntWeb.org is a great resource for printing identification images of ants when you are out in the field.
See our sections on 'ant habitats'.
Many people found on the ant forums share techniques and images of their home made ant habitats. Videos and online guides can be found under the 'build your own ant habitat' links section. Please let us know if you find any more guides.
Workers can live without a queen, they sometimes have the ability to lay a special egg that will eventually grow into a flying male ant 'drone'. This unique process enables the colonies genes to be passed on when all have died.
In most cases, queens will loose their wings soon after they have been impregnated during the nuptial flight. However, this is not always the case. Some queens may not loose their wings till the first workers 'nantics' are born, and some may loose their wings and never lay any eggs. The best way to tell is to wait for the nantics to appear.
Note: If a drone is the first adult ant to develop from the eggs, then the queen is unfertilized and not pregnant.
The sale of queen ants is prohibited in the USA. The reason for this is because if a queen escapes into the wild where it does not naturally occur, her colony could potentially damage local ecosystems leading to all sorts of undesired effects (see invasive species). Although the sale of queen ants is allowed in Europe there has been talk as to how long this will last.
Generally it is advised to keep only one queen per habitat. However it is possible to keep more than one queen if you have a large setup, i.e with two nesting areas sharing a large (30cm+) foraging area. Also a few species are polygyn, meaning that colonies can accommodate more than one queen. This trait can be found in fire ants and red stinging ants.
antARK is working on a guide to catching your own ants, please be patient thanks.
If you look after your colony well, the chances are that you may have an explosion of workers. If their habitat starts to look cramped you can always add more or larger areas via tubes. If for some crazy reason you decide that you have too many ants, you could give some workers to a friend to look after.
Most ants should start to dig into sand and soil after one day. Only certain species are able to dig into gel habitats, see Ant Works for more info. Making small holes with a toothpick in the sand/soil/gel surface helps start digging. Making sure that the sand/soil is moist also encourages digging, dry sand/soil is hard for ants to dig. If there is still no digging after a few days, try placing a few drops of sugar water onto the sand soil surface.
The speed of the egg to adult ant life cycle is heavily dependant on their surrounding temperature, but also your habitats humidity and the quality of food available (freshly crushed insects are best). The fastest brood development will take place during the heat of the summer. Brood development can grind to a halt over cold winter periods. Worker ants will move the brood to areas within your habitat that has optimum temperature and humidity. This means that it is good to have both moist and dry areas available so that the ants can choose where to go.