How to Raise an Ant Colony
How to raise an ant colony this is a quick guide on how to raise an ant colony. Follow these helpful tips and tricks to get your ant colony growing. One of the first things you will need to require is a Queen ant. You will need to catch a queen ant during the nuptial flights. These flights happen between may to September. You can catch many different species of queen ants. There are over 22,000 different species across the world.
- You need to create a test tube setup to store your queen ant in. so grab yourself a plastic test tube fill it half way with water push some cotton wool down into until its damp. Now its ready for you to go out catch a queen ant and place her into the test tube setup.
- When out and about you may have seen those times of the year when flying ants are everywhere. These are the young queen ants mating and getting ready to start their very own colony. You will want to catch a queen ant that is running along the floor. If she still has wings it’s ok she may have still mated. I have queen ants that have mated and kept their wings. Look at the image above for reference on how a queen ant looks like without its wings. They are always 4x times bigger than a worker ant and 2x bigger than a male winged ant.
- Once you find a queen ant, you want to place her carefully into the test tube setup that you made. Seal it with a piece of cotton wool. Do not seal it with plastic plugs as these make the test tube air tight and the queen ant will not be able to breathe and eventually die.
- So now you have your queen ant and you are ready to raise an ant colony. The best thing to do is catch as many queens as you can in different test tube setups.
- Once you have all your captured queen ants. Place them in a dark area. This could be a spare room in the house, a draw, basement or another dark place.
- Check on the queen once a week to see how she is getting on. Try not to disturb her too much or this may cause her to die.
- After a few days or weeks, she will lay her first eggs, do not worry about feeding her as she has stored fats that she will use until the first worker ants emerge.
- You will notice the eggs change from larvae to pupae and then hatch into worker ants after a couple of weeks.
- If your queen ant hasn’t laid any eggs this maybe because you caught her at the end of the summer and she needs to hibernate so just leave her alone until February. She will lay eggs after hibernation.
- So its been a few weeks you seen the eggs turn into larvae, pupae and now your first worker ants have arrived.
- You are gonna need to start feeding these workers ants as the queen will need proteins to continue producing eggs.
- You will want to provide them proteins such as freshly killed meal worms, crickets, or cooked chicken, ham any meaty human foods. The best practice is to place this onto a small piece of tin foil and place it into the test tube. This makes cleaning the waste much easier. It acts as a serving plate for the ants.
- They will require sugar. Get your piece of tin foil and put a drop of sugar water or honey onto the tin foil. Provide this to your ants to give them energy. This is a great way to get them nice a lively.
- Now we wait for a few months until the test tube setup has around 20 to 50 worker ants.
- The colony has grown a lot now and you are finally ready to move them into an acrylic nest or formicarium. Find your self a formicarium or make your own. I will be soon selling them in my store but at the moment I am still producing them. However, if you visit my Youtube channel you can see how I make my own setup. Click Here. Once they have moved into the formicarium by attaching the test tube to the side of it. You are then ready to watch your colony grow. Keep feeding them and adding other containers etc as the ant colony grows.
This is just a quick guide, there is a lot more to it. But I hope it can help beginners understand how to raise an ant colony.