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High quality ant keeping equipment
We are the sole reseller for ANTCUBE/ ANTSTRORE products in the United States. We sell so called Formicariums, Ant farm Kits or Terrariums for Ants. You start with a single Ant Queen or a Queen with a small group of workers and watch them grow their colony over time. Our high quality Formicariums are made of Glass. This ensures that no Ant will escape and makes it a long lasting perfect home for your Ant Colony.
Why should I keep ants?
Compared to most common pets, ants need very little space and care. They are very clean animals, cause hardly any odours, make no noises and there are hardly any costs after acquisition. They also never need to go to the vet.
In recent years, there has been a strong increase in the number of ant keepers around the world. This is due to the interesting social life and the perfect cooperation within the colony. Watching a single queen grow into an entire ant colony over the years is not only fascinating but also very educational.
To keep them at your home is a fun activity and amazing at the same time because the ant colony functions as one unit while performing their day-to-day tasks. The artificial ant enclosure which you set up at home is called ‘formicarium’. The life of ants is a little like bees and wasps. They therefore belong to the taxonomic group of Hymenoptera. Ants love to live in colonies and no studies have found that ants live solitary.
Ants work in cooperation with their tasks divided. The queen is responsible for laying the eggs. The workers take care of the queen and her eggs, they fetch food, defend their colony and built the nest. All worker ants are female. Some ant species have different types of workers. They have so called castes.
Moreover, they are capable of storing the food in their bodies during the movement. They are also responsible for bringing food to the colony so that the rest of the ants can be fed. Next are the ant soldiers they are also one of the ant castes. These ants are relatively bigger than the other ones and have got some bigger jaws through which they can bite stronger. Their primary job is the defend the ant nest and colony against the intruders. The colony will not certainly rely on a single king and queen; they will have new queens and kings each year. the queens and kings are not like the other worker ants, as they are only allowed to mate and lay eggs for the increase in ant population. Moreover, the king and queen are also expected to leave the colony and start and new one at some other place. As the studies told us that ants species are larger in number, there are almost 15.000 different types of ant species are present. No portion of the earth is empty from ants except Antarctica where the ant presence is negligible to zero. So we can say that ants are very successful when it comes to their evolution. The biomass percentage of ants is amazingly surprising. The biomass of all the dried animals of the earth contains 20 percent of the biomass just from ants. From this huge ratio, we can judge exactly how much the population of ants exists on this planet.
Genetics of ants
The genetics of ants are not the same as that of humans. Rather they are like many other Hymenoptera species who do not have X and Y chromosomes. The sex-determination system is entirely different in ants, the genetics of males and females are determined by the total number of chromosomes. The chromosomes between male ants are only half of their counterparts. The reason is their development from the eggs that are not fertilized. The chromosome inside every haploid egg occurs only once in the males. On the other hand, the female ants are from the fertilized eggs, and the chromosome in each of the haploid eggs has double occurrence. There are two sets in each egg, one is from the father's side and the other is from the mother's side.
Ecosocialism of ants
The prevailing social life network in the ants' colonies is known as 'ecosocialism'. The main characteristic of this system is that only the queen has the privilege to lay eggs while the other workers just do many tasks except reproduction. This revelation took a longer time to become undiscovered on many of the biologists, and many had been severely puzzled over the fact. The situation is quite astonished if we look deeper into it. The animals are ready to sacrifice their reproduction only because they are protecting their living place. Therefore, the system that ants have in their colonies does not fully fit with the evolutionary theory. In this theory, the genes spread from one generation to other due to the success of their parents. This means that every entity in the system has to pass the same genes to the next generation like the workers have to pass their genes like the king and queen. The system is not fully understood when it comes to ants. Since the workers who are working in one generation in a colony are not transferring their genes to the next generation to produce the batch of next workers. In some cases, the deviated workers may take part in the reproduction, and then the same deviated workers are transferred to the next generation. The question comes, whether the frequency of the deviation among the workers seems to be increasing? So this complex system of ecosocialism amongst the ants appears to be a complete contradiction. The system is working in the right direction only the way it is working is different. The queen and the workers are sisters with each other so both have common genes present in them. The workers are committed to helping their sisters in offspring, thus they are ready to spread their genes. This means that they are raising the nephews or nieces, thus it is like spreading the genes for their son and daughter. This behavior is because it is difficult to work in the ants’ colony rather than raising an offspring child. Thus more genes are spread when living in the ants' colony rather than living solitarily.
Ants outlook and their species
The shape of the ants is similar and everyone can easily tell that it is an ant. The body has three parts head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants have six legs and two antennas as well. But some ants have wings on their body. Who are those types of ants? The answer is they are the kings and queens. The colors of ants have many variances like red, black, brown, and yellow. Ants can be kept as a pet in our homes with the most common species including Lasius niger (The black garden ant), Messor barbarous (The harvester ant), and Myrmica rubra (which is the red ant). The most common kind of ants in the United States and Europe are the Lasius Niger ants. The favorite pet ant in South Europe is the Messor Barbarous due to their many work castes. These ants can be easily fed with seeds, and have larger and small workers.
Pet ant colony construction
Initially, the pet ants are to be kept in a test tube so that after some time the colony is large enough to be shifted to a formicarium. The formicarium is like the real ant habitat, which has a nest and an outdoor compartment. In the test tube, the initial reproduction has to occur. The test tube is filled with sugar water with large cotton wool at the top. Behind this wad of cotton wool, there will be the queen and her offspring. The test tube should be closed with another cotton wool so that the ants are unable to escape the captivity. As a first look, the test tube colony does not look very charming but remember it is an initial setup with only twenty workers. A formicarium is a great ant housing option since it provides a comfortable environment for the ants while also allowing the owner to watch the ants inside the nest. A formicarium like this has a nest space as well as an "outside" section. The nest is built of gypsum or concrete with tunnels and a glass slate covering. Something is covering the window to make the nest dark, but it can be lifted for the owner to see within. The "outside area" is where you'll put the ants' food, as well as where they'll discard their rubbish. Closing it shut or covering the outside edges with Teflon protects both sections from fleeing ants. This type of formication looks very nice and attractive.
Food for pet ants
The ants' eating is dependent on the type of specie. Usually, they are fond of eating dead or live animals alongside sweet syrup of sugar and honey. Some ant species also eat seeds alongside the sugary syrup. A piece of meat, pollen, fruits, and syrup can also be given as the best food for your pet ants. The sugar water composition should be seven parts of water with one part of sugar. The solution can be put in the soda water bottle and placed outside the open area of the ants’ colony in the formication. The water is not forever, it has to be replaced every two to three days. Always keep the bottle filled. Insects of various kinds can be fed to the ants such as dead or live fruit flies, small crickets, flies, moths, and aphids. Ants also required proteins so the insects' meat is the best source.
Humidity and temperature of ant formicarium
Humidity requirements for the ant colonies also depend on the type of ants you have. Some are fond of moisture while some like to live in dry housing. The best practice is to provide different moisture areas inside the nest so that the ants can choose the part whichever they like the most. The ants know the best place for their infants so they move their offspring to the best-humidified potion of the formicarium. At day times the temperature of the ant formicarium should be between 20 to 28 degrees Centigrade and for the nights a relatively cooler temperature of 15 degrees is needed. The nest of the ants can be heated with a lamp or a heat mat. It is necessary to keep the nest dark at all times. Remember to be aware of the fire hazard, and do not overheat the nest as it is fatal for the ants.
Development time of ants colony
It depends on the many factors the development of ant from egg to adult stages like the temperature, environmental temperature, and the caste of the ant. Most of the ant species require two weeks to develop from egg to ant. The successful growth of the eggs to ants is dependent on the number of eggs each queen lays and their successful development afterward. Therefore the colony should be in a good state like the provision of foods, amount of proteins in them, levels of temperature and humidity, and other stressful conditions. If there is very bright light inside the nest, there are chances of dying of the larva. The ant colony's life is related to the life of an ant queen. If you provide the best care the ants may live for 3 to 10 years. This is their average life.
Buy ants for the colony or just collect them
If you want to keep ants as pets many options can be adopted. The ants' queen or an entire colony of ants can be purchased. Similarly, the ants can be collected from nature as well. In both cases, you will need a queen that is a must along with some of his helpers called the workers. The queen without workers means that we do not have an idea about its mating. The unmated queen will never continue the colony. So it is recommended to buy an ant queen with its eggs and the workforce so that it is ensured that the ant queen is mated. Collecting ants from nature is the other way of building colonies for pet ants. In this method, the ants' queen has to be located which can be found in a very easy way. Ant queens can be best found in summer, the queens without wings are mated. It is not a good practice to disturb their whole nest while finding the ants’ queen as it is against the law. The queens without wings can be picked up. But do not take more than your requirement as it will destroy the natural balance of nature.