Buyer's Guide

How should one think when they want to start with ants? In the beginning, it can feel like a jungle of choices between ant species, ant nests, various types of food, and feeding methods. In this buying guide, we will walk you through how to approach it.

1. Choose type of Ant

A fairly simple rule of thumb when choosing ant species is that the closer the species is to your own location, the easier it will be. If you are in Scandinavia, this means ants from northern Europe. If you are in the US, then ants from your own region might be a good idea. However, many other ant species also work well and have a low difficulty level, even though they are not naturally nesting close to you. Exotic species like leafcutter ants may seem tempting, but they can be very challenging to succeed with. Do your research and read up on the ant species that you think might be suitable for you.

Some common ant species to start with are those from the genera Lasius, Camponotus, or Messor.

2. Desired colony Size

How large of a colony should you start with? There are a few different options here. One option is to start with a solitary queen and observe her build her colony from scratch, from eggs to ants. This can be very rewarding to witness! Another option is to start with a colony that is already established. It may have a few workers or even hundreds. If that's the case, you will see much more activity right away, which can also be enjoyable.

Which do you prefer?

How to obtain ants?

What a great question! You can start your colony in a few different ways. Either you start from scratch and capture a newly fertilized flying ant queen. Or you capture an existing colony (remember to be very careful not to harm any ants!). The easiest option is to buy a colony. This is very common and, in a way, guarantees a healthy colony.

1. Build Your Own

Building your own nest can be really enjoyable. Just be sure to make the nest completely escape-proof so that no ants can get out! You can learn more about building your own nests here: Formicarium.

2. Buy a Nest

If you prefer a well-thought-out concept created by experts, then buying a nest is a good option. This way, you can be sure that everything your ants need is provided. So, how do you choose what to buy?

What else is needed?

Now that you have the ants' nest, what else do you need? Well, food and somewhere for the ants to explore and search for food, of course!

Good luck with your ants!