Gettting started based on my experiences...

If you want to start keeping ants, do your research first. There’s plenty of information to be found on the internet. Check out the links page for the places I found most useful and google is your friend.

I don’t really want to be repeating what I’ve read elsewhere but, having just started with my first colony, I thought I’d list the goodies I bought and a few random notes.

My shopping list

Most sites and forums seemed to point me towards Antstore for getting all things ant related so that’s where the bulk of my stuff came from.

From Antstore

  • Starter Set – glassfarm/arena – classic. This contained:
    • 1x glass antfarm (display) 30×20x1.8cm (internal width 12mm)
    • 1x glass basin 20×10x10cm with glass lid and high-grade steel lattice grid
    • 1×1m hose
    • 1x hose adaptor (to connect to the basin)
    • 1x rubber bung (for 8 mm opening)
    • 1x rubber bung (for 10 mm opening)
    • 1×50g granulate
    • 1×1000g sand/loam mixture (natural – no colours)
    • 1x square feeding dish 30mm
    • 1x pair spring steel tweezers
    • 1x plastic pipette
    • 1×10ml honey/sugar mixture
  • Round feeding dish 30mm
  • Book: Principals of keeping ants
  • Lasius niger (queen + 4-10 workers)

From elsewhere

  • Square cotton wool pads
  • White tack
  • Thickish card & sellotape
  • Vaseline for escape-proofing
  • Small tupperware container (for insect hunting)
  • Drinking straw
  • Water sprayer/mister
  • Distilled or de-ionised water

Random notes

The book on keeping ants doesn’t contain anything you can’t find out by doing a bit of internet research first. However it is very handy to have it all written down in the one place for easy reference.

I’ve put the test tube in the glass (foraging) basin to start with. It’s not connected to the antfarm yet. This seems to be working well for now. The test I guess will be whether the ants move into the antfarm once it’s connected.

I used the card and sellotape to make a tube to put round the test tube so the nesting/brooding area can be kept darkish. The idea being that I can slide it back without disturbing the ants too much should I need to see their nest.

The white tack came in handy for holding the tube in place and off the ground in the tank (off the ground so that I can slide the cardboard tube back if needed). It’s also bunging up one of the holes on the side of the tank (as the hose is not yet connected).

The honey/sugar mixture needs to mixed with water before feeding to the ants otherwise they’ll get stuck in it – it’s very gooey. 1 part water to 1 part mixture seems about right.

The square cotton wool pads I got are for babies and seem to be ideal (once trimmed to the right size) to put in the square feeding dish soaked in water.

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