Archive for category Ant Farm Tips & Tricks

Where to Get a Queen Ant

How to obtain a Queen Ant for an Ant Colony.

I have gotten a lot of requests from people wanting Queens for their ant farms and from people wanting entire ant colonies. I decided to do a bit of research to see what I could come up with and here’s what I found out:

Dig one up yourself:

The process I use is to locate a less developed nest (smaller).

You should try to do it in early spring when the sun has warmed the soil and the queen will be closer to the surface as it gets closer to spring. Take a shovel, buckets, and covers for the buckets to site of nest during mid to late day.

Next, cut a circle around the ant hill, about the size of a bucket or smaller if possible. Don’t pull up the section until you have made your entire circular cut. When you’re ready, lift the section out of ground and place it in first bucket. Then, while the nest is disturbed and the ants are freaking out, dig the rest of the soil up, following the chambers and tunnels until the number of ants are become more scarce or your bucket(s) are full.

Now, take the bucket(s) home and start sorting through them, using a spoon to collect the workers, pupae, larvae and eggs while looking for the queen(s). Once you got the queen, then you can decide whether to keep sorting to obtain more workers and eggs.


Always Get Live Ants For Your Ant Farm

When you buy an ant farm, let’s face it, it’s usually as a gift for a child, and getting your live ants becomes a priority. Some adults buy ant farms as desk ornaments, particularly the newer gel ant farms, but, on the whole it’s as an educational toy for a child.

I don’t know about you, but I can remember being given certain presents for Christmas that required batteries. And they never had batteries in them and my parents had never had the foresight to go out and get a stock in. The result? Frustration.

And, of course, in those days, all the shops were closed for the Christmas holiday so, by the time they were open again, to buy our precious batteries, the excitement and novelty of the toy had worn off. It seemed to take the edge off things a bit.

Well, it’s the same with ant farms. Usually, when you buy one, the kit contains a certificate that you can mail off to a supplier and then, some weeks later, a tube of ants will arrive for you to put into it. Well, that’s no good to kids, I can tell you.

What is infinitely preferable is to be able to buy your kit complete with your tube of ants all at the same time. That way, when the precious package arrives it will contain everything you need to get up and running immediately. So you can set up your ant farm, let it stabilize, introduce your ants (usually Western Harvester Ants, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis) into their new habitat and give them a while to settle in, before presenting it as a gift to your precious child.

I’ve been down this route too many times before to repeat the mistake of giving a child only half a present. So, my motto at Christmas is the same as the Boy Scouts’, ‘Be prepared’. By getting your live ants in plenty of time, you’ll be prepared too and will be able to avoid tears just at the time when it should be all smiles.