Ant Keeping as a Hobby: The Fascinating World of Myrmecology

Ant keeping as a hobby may seem unusual, but it offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of myrmecology.

For those who are curious about the behavior and communication of ants, ant keeping can be a rewarding and educational experience.

From colony care to ant nutrition, there are endless opportunities to explore the diverse and complex world of ants.

See Also: How To Find An Collection Hobby For Yourself?

Key Takeaways

  • Ant keeping is a fascinating hobby that involves the capture, care, and observation of ants and ant colonies.
  • Ant keeping provides a unique perspective into the behavior and communication of these social insects, and can be a great way to learn about biology, ecology, and natural history.
  • To get started with ant keeping, you will need to research the different ant species, create the optimal environment for your ants, and learn about their colony behavior and communication.
See Also: How To Find An Collection Hobby For Yourself?

Benefits of Ant Keeping

Ant keeping is a unique and fascinating hobby that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Not only is it an enjoyable pastime, but there are also numerous benefits to keeping ants as pets. In this section, we will discuss some of the health and educational benefits of ant keeping.

Health Benefits

Ant keeping can have several health benefits. It can be a calming and therapeutic hobby that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Watching ants go about their daily activities can be a relaxing and meditative experience.

Additionally, ant keeping can be a form of exercise. Maintaining and caring for an ant colony requires physical activity that can help improve your overall health. It can also be a great way to get into the habit of gardening for those who are not able to do it on their own.

Educational Benefits

Ant keeping can also have significant educational benefits. It can help you learn about the behavior and biology of ants and other insects. You can observe how they interact with each other, how they communicate, and how they work together to build their colonies.

Ant keeping can also be a great way to teach children about the environment and the importance of conserving it. It can help instill a sense of responsibility and respect for nature in young minds.

See Also: Bucket List Of Hobbies From A – Z

Furthermore, ant keeping can also be a gateway to myrmecology, which is the study of ants. It can provide an opportunity for enthusiasts to conduct their own research and contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of these fascinating creatures.

Benefits of Ant Keeping
Health Benefits– Calming and therapeutic hobby
– Form of exercise
– Great way to get into gardening
Educational Benefits– Learn about ant behavior and biology
– Teach children about the environment
– Gateway to myrmecology

In conclusion, ant keeping is a hobby that provides numerous benefits for both enthusiasts and the environment. Whether you are interested in learning about insect behavior, looking for a new form of exercise, or simply seeking a relaxing pastime, ant keeping is an excellent choice.

Getting Started with Ant Keeping

Are you interested in starting ant keeping as a hobby? Ant keeping can be a fun and educational hobby that allows you to observe the behavior of ant colonies.

To get started, you need to consider a few important factors such as choosing the right ant species, selecting a nest type, setting up the nest, feeding your ants, and caring for your ants.

Choosing Ant Species

There are many different ant species to choose from when starting ant keeping.

Some popular beginner-friendly species include the Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger)Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.), and Crazy Ants (Paratrechina longicornis).

It’s important to research the dietary needs and habitat requirements of each species before making your selection.

Selecting a Nest Type

The nest is where the ant colony will live, so it’s important to choose the right type of nest for your ant species.

Some common nest types include formicariums, test tube setups, and plastic habitats. Consider the size of your ant colony and the materials used in the nest when making your selection.

Setting Up the Nest

Once you have selected a nest type, it’s time to set up the nest. This may involve adding sand or other materials to create a suitable habitat for your ant colony. You may also need to add a heating cable or other equipment to maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels.

Feeding Your Ants

Ants have specific dietary needs, so it’s important to provide them with the right type of food. Ants require both protein and carbohydrates, so consider providing them with a mix of seeds, sugar water, and protein-rich foods such as insects or brood.

Caring for Your Ants

Ants require regular care to ensure their health and well-being. This may involve cleaning the nest, providing fresh food and water, and monitoring the behavior of the ant colony. Be sure to observe the ants closely and watch for signs of illness or stress.

Ant Species for Beginners

If you are a beginner ant keeper, you might be wondering what ant species are best to start with. Here are some species that are good for beginners:

Lasius Niger (Black Garden Ant)

Lasius Niger, also known as the Black Garden Ant, is a common ant species in Europe. They are small and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners. They are also easy to find and catch, as they are often found in gardens and parks.

These ants are omnivorous, meaning they eat both insects and plants. They are also social creatures, living in large colonies with a queen and workers. If you want to start with a small colony, Lasius Niger is a good choice.

Messor Barbarus (Harvester Ant)

Messor Barbarus, or the Harvester Ant, is another good option for beginners. These ants are larger than Lasius Niger and have a unique feature of storing seeds in their nests. They are also easy to care for and can be found in many parts of the world.

Messor Barbarus colonies can grow quite large, with up to 10,000 workers. They are also known for their hardworking nature, making them an interesting species to observe.

Camponotus (Carpenter Ant)

Camponotus, or Carpenter Ants, are a larger species of ant that are also good for beginners. They are known for their ability to chew through wood, which they use to build their nests. Carpenter Ants are also found in many parts of the world, making them easy to find.

These ants are omnivorous and can eat a variety of foods. They are also social creatures, living in large colonies with a queen and workers. If you want to observe a larger and more active colony, Camponotus is a good choice.

Crazy Ants

Crazy Ants are a unique species of ant that are known for their erratic movements. They are also easy to care for and can be found in many parts of the world. These ants are omnivorous and can eat a variety of foods.

Crazy Ants are a good choice for beginners who want to observe a unique and interesting species. They are also known for their fast colony growth, which can be exciting to watch.

Lasius NigerSmallOmnivorousSoil
Messor BarbarusMediumOmnivorous, Seed-storingSoil
Crazy AntsSmallOmnivorousSoil

In summary, there are several ant species that are good for beginners to start with. Lasius Niger, Messor Barbarus, Camponotus, and Crazy Ants are all interesting and easy to care for. Choose the species that interests you the most and start your ant keeping journey today!

Creating the Optimal Environment for Your Ants

Ant keeping as a hobby requires you to provide a suitable environment for your ants to thrive.

In order to create the optimal environment for your ants, you need to consider several factors such as habitat, temperature and humidity, lighting, water, and food sources.


The habitat of your ants should mimic their natural environment as closely as possible. You can use a terrarium or an ant farm to create a suitable habitat for your ants.

The terrarium should be made of glass or plastic and should be big enough to accommodate your ant colony. You can also add some decorations such as rocks, plants, and branches to make the habitat more natural.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity are important factors to consider when creating the optimal environment for your ants.

The temperature of the habitat should be kept between 20°C to 25°C, and the humidity level should be around 50% to 70%. You can use a heating cable to maintain the temperature of the habitat, and a humidifier to control the humidity level.


Ants do not need direct sunlight, but they do need some form of lighting. You can use a low-wattage bulb or LED light to provide lighting for your ants. The lighting should be on for 12 hours a day, and off for 12 hours a day.


Your ants need a constant supply of water. You can provide water for your ants by using a water source such as a test tube or a water dish. The water source should be cleaned and refilled regularly to prevent bacterial growth.

Food Sources

Ants require a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fats. You can provide your ants with a variety of food sources such as seeds, fruit, vegetables, cookies, and protein sources such as insects. You can use a feeding dish to provide food for your ants, and the food should be replaced regularly to prevent spoilage.

Food TypeExamples
CarbohydratesSugar water, honey, fruit
ProteinInsects, mealworms, chicken
SeedsSunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
CookiesOatmeal cookies, gingerbread cookies

By following these guidelines, you can create the optimal environment for your ants and ensure that they thrive in their new habitat.

Ant Colony Behavior and Communication

Ants are social insects that live in colonies with a highly organized social structure. Understanding the behavior and communication of ants is crucial for successful ant keeping as a hobby.


Ant colonies consist of different castes, including the queen, workers, and soldiers. The queen is responsible for reproducing, while the workers and soldiers are responsible for maintaining the colony and protecting it.

Workers are further divided into sub-castes, such as nurses, foragers, and cleaners. Each caste has a specific role in the colony, and they work together to ensure the survival and growth of the colony.


Ants are known for their high level of cooperation within the colony. They work together to build and maintain the nest, care for the young, and forage for food.

Ants communicate with each other through a variety of methods, including chemical signals, touch, and sound.

Antennae Messages

Ants use their antennae to communicate with each other by touching and detecting chemical signals.

They use pheromones to mark trails, signal danger, and identify nestmates. For example, when a scout ant finds a food source, it will return to the nest and lay down a pheromone trail for other ants to follow.

Ants also use their antennae to detect vibrations and sound waves. They can communicate with each other through a series of clicks, chirps, and other sounds. For example, when a worker ant encounters a predator, it will emit a distress signal that alerts other ants to the danger.

Understanding the behavior and communication of ants is essential for successful ant keeping as a hobby. By observing and learning about the different castes, cooperation, and antennae messages, you can provide the best care for your ant colony.

Advanced Ant Keeping Techniques

As an experienced ant keeper, you may be ready to take your hobby to the next level. Advanced ant keeping techniques involve more complex care and observation of ant colonies. Here are some techniques to consider:

Formicariums and Outworlds

Formicariums and outworlds are essential components of advanced ant keeping. A formicarium is a housing unit designed to simulate the natural habitat of an ant colony, while an outworld is a space that connects the formicarium to the outside world.

When choosing a formicarium, consider the size and needs of your ant colony. Some ant species require a larger space than others, and some prefer a moist environment while others prefer a dry one. Additionally, consider the materials used to construct the formicarium. Glass and acrylic are popular choices, but some ant keepers prefer natural materials like wood or soil.

Outworlds provide a space for ants to forage and explore outside of the formicarium. They can be constructed using a variety of materials, including plastic containers, acrylic sheets, or even natural materials like rocks and plants. It is important to ensure that the outworld is escape-proof and provides adequate ventilation.

Brood Boosting

Brood boosting is a technique used to increase the number of workers in an ant colony. It involves introducing brood (eggs, larvae, and pupae) from another colony into your own. This can be done by carefully transferring the brood using a small brush or forceps.

Brood boosting can be beneficial for small or struggling colonies, as it provides additional workers to help with food collection and colony maintenance. However, it is important to ensure that the brood comes from a healthy colony to prevent the spread of disease.

Queen Ant Care

Queen ants are the foundation of any ant colony, and their care is crucial for the success of the colony. It is important to provide the queen with a suitable environment, including a comfortable nesting area and access to food and water.

Additionally, queen ants require special care during the mating season. This may involve providing a mating flight or introducing a male ant to the colony. It is important to research the specific needs of your ant species to ensure that the queen is well-cared for.

In conclusion, advanced ant keeping techniques involve careful consideration of the needs of your ant colony. By providing a suitable formicarium and outworld, practicing brood boosting, and caring for the queen ant, you can create a thriving and successful ant colony.

Ant Keeping Supplies and Resellers

Ant keeping as a hobby requires some supplies to keep your ants healthy and happy. There are two main categories of ant keeping supplies: DIY supplies and commercial supplies. Additionally, there are resellers that offer a variety of ant keeping products.

DIY Supplies

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can make your own ant keeping supplies. DIY supplies include materials such as combi, cork, gypsum, and plastic.

Combi is a mixture of sand and plaster that is used to make ant nests. Cork is a natural and eco-friendly material that can be used to make ant nests.

Gypsum is a mineral that can be used to make ant nests and is a popular choice among ant keepers. Plastic is also used to make ant nests, but it is not as popular due to its lack of breathability.

Commercial Supplies

Commercial supplies are ant keeping products that are sold by vendors. These products are designed for ease of use and are made from high-quality materials. Commercial supplies include ant nests, ant feeders, and ant food.

Ant nests are available in different sizes and materials such as acrylic and glass. They come with a variety of features such as hydration systems, ventilation, and easy access to the nest. Ant feeders are designed to make feeding your ants a breeze.

They come in different shapes and sizes and are made from materials such as plastic and glass. Ant food is available in different forms such as liquid and gel. It is formulated to provide your ants with all the nutrients they need to thrive.


There are many resellers that offer a variety of ant keeping products. These resellers are a great option if you are looking for a wide range of products at competitive prices.

Some popular resellers include Ant Keeping DepotAntcube, and Ant Gear.

Ant Keeping Depot offers a variety of ant keeping supplies and equipment. They have everything from ant nests to food to formicaria. Antcube offers starter kits that are perfectly designed for beginners in the hobby.

They have starter kits for different natural habitats such as desert, meadow, forest, and rainforest. Ant Gear is based in Arizona and has permits to ship ants to many states. They offer a variety of products such as ant farms, queen ants, and supplies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some good ant keeping supplies for beginners?

A: As a beginner, you will need a few essential supplies to start your ant colony. You will need a formicarium, which is an artificial ant nest, some test tubes to house your queen and her brood, and a water feeder.

You can also use a magnifying glass to observe your ants better. You can find these supplies at pet stores, online stores, or specialized ant keeping stores.

Q: Where can I find ant keepers near me?

A: You can find ant keepers near you by searching online for ant keeping groups or forums in your area.

You can also check social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram for ant keeping groups or pages. Attending ant keeping conferences or events is also a great way to meet other ant keepers.

Q: What are some alternatives to traditional ant farms?

A: Traditional ant farms have been replaced by more modern and innovative formicariums. Some alternatives to traditional ant farms include acrylic formicariums, hybrid nests, and naturalistic setups. These setups mimic the ants’ natural environment and provide a more realistic experience for the hobbyist.

Q: Is ant keeping a good hobby for kids?

A: Ant keeping can be a great hobby for kids, as it teaches them about responsibility, patience, and the natural world. However, adult supervision is required as some ant species can bite or sting. It’s also essential to ensure that the child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of caring for the ants.

Q: Are ants low maintenance pets?

A: Ants are relatively low maintenance pets, but they still require care and attention. You will need to feed them, provide them with water, and clean their formicarium regularly. You will also need to monitor their health and behavior to ensure their well-being.

Q: What are some tips for keeping ants healthy in a formicarium?

A: To keep your ants healthy, you should ensure that they have access to clean water and a balanced diet. Avoid feeding them sugary foods, as this can lead to health problems. You should also keep their formicarium clean and free of debris, and monitor their behavior for any signs of illness or stress.

Additional Collection Hobbies
ADHD Collecting HobbiesAnt Keeping
Aquarium (Fishkeeping)Art Collecting
AudiophiliaAutograph Collecting
Bag CollectingBanknote Collection
Bike CollectionBone Collecting
Book CollectingBottle Collecting
Bus Ticket CollectingButterfly Collecting
Button CollectingBuying and Selling Cars
CD CollectingCar Collecting
Card CollectingCartophily
Cassette Tapes CollectingCheapest Collecting Hobby
CigarsCoin Collecting
Collecting AntiquesCollecting Figures
Collecting FossilsCollecting Funko Pops
Collecting Hot WheelsCollecting Jewelry
Collecting MangaCollecting Stickers
Collecting Stuffed AnimalsComic Book Collecting
Compact Discs CollectingCouponing
Crystals CollectingCurrency Note Collection
Digital HoardingDolls Collecting
Dust Collection HobbyElement Collecting Hobby
Ephemera CollectingEveryday Carry
Feather Collection HobbyFilms Collecting
Fingerprint CollectingFlag Collecting Hobby
Gun Collecting HobbyHat Collecting Hobby
Hobby Cycling CollectionInsect Collecting
Insulator Collecting HobbyInterior Designers Art Collecting
Keychain Collection HobbyKnife Collecting Hobby
Lapel PinsLeaf Collection Hobby
Lego Collection HobbyLivestreaming
Lottery Ticket CollectingMap Collecting Hobby
Mask Collection HobbyMatchbox Collection Hobby
Mineral CollectingModel Car Collecting
Movie Memorabilia CollectingMusic Collection Hobby
Passport Collection HobbyPatch Collecting
Pen Collection HobbyPencil Collection Hobby
Perfume Collection HobbyPhonecard Collecting
Plant Collecting HobbyPlush Toy Collecting
Postcard Collection HobbyRadio Controlled Model Collecting
Record CollectingRing Collection Hobby
Rock TumblingSea Glass Collecting
Seashell CollectingShell Collection Hobby
Shoes CollectingSports Cards
Sports Memorabilia CollectingSpotting Hobby
Stamp CollectingStamp and Coin Collecting
Star Wars Toy CollectingStationery Collection Hobby
Statue Collecting HobbyStone Collecting Hobby
Tea Bag CollectingTicket Collection Hobby
Tin Collecting HobbyToy Collecting
Video Game CollectingVideo Game Toy Collecting
Watch Collecting HobbyWeird Collection Hobbies