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The Best Ants For Ant Farms

The original ant farm, known as antariums, were seen in the late 1950s. Antariums presented the fantastic opportunity for scientific observation of the way ants live, function, and thrive. Everyone from the novice to the most seasoned entomologist was able to order an ant farm to study the complexities of ant colonies.

Today, most ant farms come with a blue gel, which is nutrient-rich and transparent, making it even easier for ants to dig deeper, more intricate colonies. Then, there is the LED lighting which creates a more well-lit area for better viewing. But, the ultimate question is:

What are the best ants for ant farms? The best ants to keep in your ant farm are harvester ants, as they are relatively easy to keep. Other great options include black garden ants and wood ants, as they are peaceful and independent species that are easy to care for and fun to observe.

Well, wonder no more. Read on to find out about the best ants for your ant farm.

Choosing the Right Species

Keeping an ant farm is a unique educational experience as well as a fun activity. But, it is also a great responsibility. You see, when you keep an ant farm, the well-being of every single ant in your ant family falls squarely on your shoulders. 

In such circumstances, it is best to evaluate your purpose of keeping an ant farm and how much you know about the upkeep of your ants. There are more than 10,000 species of ants in the world. Ants make up more than half of the insect population in the world. 

And, while some ants are relatively easy to care for, some aren’t meant for the beginner ant keeper. Let’s go through some of the species that beginners can care for with relative ease.

1. Red Ants or Harvester Ants

Harvester ants, or red ants, are commonly found in savannahs, grasslands, and habitats like semi-deserts and deserts.

These ants are very easy to keep in ant farms as they are self-sufficient. The queens of the harvester ants produce eggs endlessly. The females are the ones who forage for food and maintain social order in the colonies. The male harvester ants usually mate and die.

These don’t need wood to burrow into or sugars to eat, as some other ants need. They only require fruits, water, various seeds, and dead insects to survive. 

2. Black Garden Ants

These are your “garden variety” ants that are most commonly found in every backyard. Also known as the “common ant,” this species can be found in Europe, North or South America, Asia, and Australasia. 

These ants do not require much upkeep and thrive even with little care. But black garden ant colonies do well when provided with syrup or sugar water. They commonly nest underground, in rotting wood, and under roots.

They may be best kept in a vivarium rather than a pre-made ant farm if your colony gets large enough.

3. Wood Ants

These make popular pets as they come in a bright orangey color. These ants, as the name suggests, like to burrow in wood. They are ideal for beginner ant farmers and require very little care. 

Wood ants aren’t hostile by nature and don’t like to poke their mandibles into where they don’t belong. In short, they don’t have a wandering spirit and tend to stick close to their nest.

But, they can and will eat anything you give them. However, it’s best to provide a healthy diet for your ants. Hence, dead bugs, fruits, and honey serve the purpose quite well. 

Related Questions

Keeping ants as pets is no joking matter and should never be taken lightly. They may be tiny creatures, but the moment you start up an ant farm, you become responsible for their well-being.

Now, there are many animal lovers out there who believe that ants require no care whatsoever. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ants most certainly need attention and care. It is true that the more familiar the genus, the lesser the responsibility. But, with an ant farm, you have to ensure that your ants have enough hydration, ventilation, space to roam and burrow, and ample food. 

Not to mention, you also need to make sure that your ants live in a secure environment where other insects or predators cannot attack or that your ants cannot escape too. But, there are always more questions to answer when it comes to new parents, so read on to find out about some of the more commonly asked queries.

Can You Keep Fire Ants as Pets?

Strangely, fire ants are by far the most sought-after species in ants. But they’re not for everyone. You see, besides the risk of getting bit, if you’re squeamish about what your ants kill and eat, then you ought to stick to the garden variety of ants. Fire ants need constant supervision as well as surveillance. 

Fire ants are highly aggressive ants that have huge appetites. They don’t keep a strictly vegetarian diet either. And, heaven forbid, if fire ants get loose, they can very well attack you or your other pets.

Their bite can be deadly. And, they are destructive enough to impact the entire ecosystem where they may invariably settle negatively. 

Fire ants are native to South America, and many breeders do not recommend taking a fire ant colony away from its country of origin. They were accidentally introduced in the US in the 1930s. Fire ants have huge colonies and keep multiple queens.

They can host more than 100,000-500,000 ants in one territory. And, as they multiply exponentially, keeping a close eye on their movement becomes quite challenging. 

So, if all you want to do is look at the wondrous ways in which ants live and grow and happen to know nothing about the care they require, it’s wisest to stick with a species of pet that you can handle if they escape. Yet, it is no secret that many ant lovers often seek ways to get their hands on fire ants for their formicarium. 

What Are Bulldog Ants?

By far, the most lethal and dangerous ant to be found on earth is the bulldog ant. It is native to the coastal area of Australia. And, it’s best to leave it where it belongs.

The bulldog ant is even more aggressive than the fire ant. When it does attack, and it does so far more often, the bulldog ant uses its sting and jaws simultaneously.

The bulldog ant sting has killed adults within 15 minutes of the bite. You can’t even conceive what bulldog ants can do when introduced to unknown territory. Bulldog ants, too, can adversely affect wildlife if introduced into new ecosystems. 

Not to mention, they could pose a huge threat to us. Luckily, these ants are rarely found in populated areas of Australia.

These ants are noticeable due to their large mandibles and compound eyes that provide excellent vision. Also, bulldog ants are pretty big compared to other ants. They have a high-maintenance diet that includes juicy fruits, seeds, fungi, and various types of meats. 

Can My Ant Farm Survive Without a Queen Ant?

Many ant breeders recommend that first-timer ant keepers should have an ant farm without a queen ant. You can take your time to learn about the ants’ lives. And, at the same time, you can take time to understand if you indeed have an affinity with ants. 

An ant farm without a queen ant can last well up to a year, depending on the genus of the ant and the attention and care they receive from you. But, the moment the queen ant comes into the picture, your ant farm will start to grow.

And, as ants reproduce pretty rapidly, novice ant keepers are asked to keep things simple without a queen ant.

Yet, the introduction of a queen ant doesn’t only mean that your ant farm will grow. It also means that your responsibilities grow, as you will have more ants to care for and feed. It may also mean that you will have to provide a bigger home for your pet ants. 

If you want to witness the creation of a colony, then it is impossible to start without a queen ant. In such a scenario, you have to begin with the queen ant. And, many ant experts advise that rather than buying a queen ant, you ought to find one from your environment. 

Such logic is that if the ants are from the local ecosystem, you won’t have a tough time managing the right temperature within the ant farm. Nor will you face difficulties keeping the humidity levels in check or understanding the mechanisms of a genus of ants that you have no clue about.

And, before you venture to keep an ant farm with a queen ant or otherwise, it’s best to take time out and research your little pet project before you set up an ant farm. Not only will that help you make a comfortable home for your ants, but it’ll assist you in understanding the needs of your pets better.

How Do You Set Up and Keep an Ant Colony?

For more in-depth information on housing and keeping a whole and colony with a queen as pets, we suggest watching this incredibly interesting and informative video from the AntsCanada channel on YouTube about how to raise an ant colony.

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