Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am New to Ant Keeping How do I Start?
A: Welcome to AntManUK. So you are ready to start on your journey in the micro world of Keeping ants as pets. You may want to look at my video, How to raise an Ant Colony. This video goes through some of the basics in ant keeping and how you can DIY your own ant home. Visit our How to Raise an Ant Colony Page for beginner information and our Basic Ant Care Page. Video of how to raise an ant colony.
Q: Where and how can I catch a queen ant? Best queen ant for beginners?
A: Depending where you live in the world, you could catch one of the 22,000 thousand ant species that are across the world. One of the most common and easy ants to keep is the Lasius Niger and the Lasius Flavus these make great beginner ants. Take a look at the video below on how i catch a queen ant.
Q: What is the best setup to keep ants as a beginner?
A: Keeping ants from the very beginning can be simple. If you have just caught a queen she can live safe in a test tube setup for along time. I leave my queens in test tubes until they have at least 20 worker ants. Then i move them into a DIY ant home for them to mature. Take a look at the video below on how you can make your own ant farm setup for cheap.
Q: How Can I Identify A Queen ant?
A: We cannot help to identify every single ant species as their are so many. There is thousands of ant species across the world. You can find lots of websites that show different types of queen ants and ant species. The video below will help you understand what to look for when trying to identify a queen ant.
Q: I have just caught a queen ant. What happens next?. Do I need to provide her with food?
A: We use test tube setups for catching queen ants. The test tube is built so that the queen ant will not need any food until her first workers immerge. The queen will use her fats and proteins to live off until her first batch of worker ants arrive. She will need feeding a few days after the first batch of workers have arrived. Providing food for her or any type of disturbance may stress the queen ant out. I found the best way is to store her into a dark place a cupboard or draw. Check on the queen ant once a week but try not to disturb her too much as you don’t want to stress her out to the point where she dies. Once her first workers emerge you can then take her out of the dark. Watch the video below on how to make a test tube setup for catching queen ants.
Q: When will my queen ant lay eggs? How long does it take for workers to appear after eggs have been laid?
A: For a lot of queen ants out there they will tend to lay eggs a few hours after being caught. Some take a few days, some a few weeks. If your queen has not laid any eggs this could be because it is near the hiberation time of the year. Especially if its September onwards the queen ant might decide to hibernate. Once she comes out of hibernation she will then lay her first batch of ant eggs. Never lose hope on your queen ant. Provide her with a safe place where it is dark and hardly disturbed and check on her at least once a week. Workers will take 4 to 6 weeks from the egg into a worker ant. If you provide them with warmth this can also speed up the process.
Q: My queen ant has her first worker ants. Now, what do I feed the ant colony?
A: Congrats on getting this far with your queen ant. It is a very exciting time when the first worker ants finally arrive. You should feed them directly into the test tube, I use a little piece of tin foil which I place proteins on these include. Freshly killed crickets, meal worms, fruit, and you can use human food like cooked chicken, ham, etc. The good thing with the tin foil it acts as a serving plate so you can remove it making it easier to keep the test tube clean. You will also need to provide them with a drop of honey or sugar water. Just add a drop to some tin foil and place this into the test tube setup. These honey and sugar water will provide them with lots of energy and will help them along. The proteins are really important as the worker ants will need protein foods and to feed the queen in order for her to lay the next batch of eggs.
Q: When can I move my ants into an ant farm/formicarium?
A: Once your test tube setup has at least 20 to 50 workers you can then move them into an ant farm or formicarium. If you can wait longer until you have more than 50 worker ants this is better, as it increases the survival rate of the ant colony. If you move them too soon sometimes they can die off. I have had this happen to me I moved a queen with 6 worker ants into a formicarium and they all started dying off. When looking at buying an ant farm or a formicarium be sure to check that their is a way to provide humidity to the nest. This is normally a sponge which u dampen with water every few days to keep the nest humid this will increase colony survival rate. I will soon be adding products to the shop section of the website where you can buy ant setups. !! IMPORTANT !! – Never ever use a gel ant farm. The gel contains toxins and will kill your entire colony.
Q: How many times do my ants need feeding?
A: Depending on the size of your ant colony. For younger colonies will require food once or twice a week. But when a colony has got to the point where it has 100’s of worker ants you will need to provide them with fresh food everyday to maintain the colony.
Q: What foods should I be feeding to my ants?
A: All ants require proteins these include: insects, crickets, meal worms freshly killed or from frozen. Some ants will eat cooked human foods like chicken, ham and beef. The ants will also require a source of sugar, I use honey, honey water and sugar water. This will provide the ants with lots of energy that they require. Proteins are essential to help the queen ant carry on laying eggs and to keep the ant colony healthy.
Q: I have an ant question that is not here?
A: If you have a question about ants and it is not on this list. You can go to the contact page and send me an email message. I will try to answer it to the best of my knowledge.