A queen ant is the primary reproductive female in an ant colony. She is responsible for laying eggs and ensuring the survival of the colony.
The queen lays eggs, which hatch into larvae. The larvae pupate and develop into adult workers. The colony grows, and the workers take over various tasks.
Brood is just an antkeeping word for ant eggs, larvae, or cocoons.
Queen ants can be caught during their mating flights, during spring and summer. Use a test tube setup with a water-soaked cotton ball and a small entrance for easy capture.
It can take several weeks to a few months for the first workers to emerge, depending on the ant species and environmental conditions.
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We are based in Brisbane but we ship express throughout Australia (no ant sales to WA or TAS).
It depends on when you order. Generally, we post all of our orders on Mondays to ensure that there if no chance they are left in the post office over the weekend. Postage to locations in Queensland will typically take 1 to 2 days, postage to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide will take 2 to 3 days, and for all other locations, orders arrive anytime within 4 days.
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We use a range of test tube sizes depending on the species of ant. Typically, most of our ants are in 16mm diameter test tubes, with exceptions for large ants. These large ants include green weaver ants, which use 30mm tubes, and bull ants, which are usually in 20mm tubes.
All of our queens come in a test tube, with half of the tube filled with water and blocked off by cotton. Some water seeps through the cotton and allows the queen and her colony to drink.
You will need to feed the colony regularly by placing a small amount of food in the test tube or outworld. They will need sugars (honey, sugar water, ant nectar) and protein (mealworms, crickets, or other insects) about once every 5-7 days.
This depends on the species. “Easy care” ants like big-headed ants and pavement ants typically don’t mind if you check on them often, as long as you do not turn, bump, or shake the tube. It is best to place them in a position that allows for you to view them without picking up the tube, such as simply opening up a box and looking in, or lifting up a cloth that covers the tube. Some ants, like bull ants and other semi-Claustral ants, are much more sensitive to disturbance and can eat their eggs or die if they are disturbed too often, so keep disturbances to a couple times a week at the most for these ant types.toolTips('.classtoolTips0','The method of establishing a new colony, in which a queen sequesters herself in a small chamber and hatches the first generation of workers, nourishing them primarily on stored body fat. The queens will not forage for food, and do not require feeding until the first generation is hatched');
Typically you should only move the ants when they no long fit in the test tube and are often escaping when you try to feed them. Moving them in too early can cause them to become stressed and develop slowly.
If you’d like to move them, you can purchase some test tubes and a connector from the site and make a new tube using cotton. Once the ends of the tubes are connected, move the new tube/nest into the dark (preferably warm too) and leave the old tube under some bright light, at a slight upwards angle if possible. It can take anywhere from ten minutes to a few weeks for a colony to move into a new tube or nest.
This happens often in winter. Ants tend to slow down and reduce activity when it is cold, so creating a warmer environment and feeding more protein can encourage colony growth.
Mould is not necessarily a problem, it’s usually only an issue if the ants are clearly avoiding it and moving to the other side of the test tube. If they are staying near the cotton and don’t seem to care, I wouldn’t worry too much.
It’s normal for a queen to pause egg production occasionally, especially in colder weather. Ensure she has a stable environment, proper nutrition, and low stress.
Signs include a lack of activity, sluggish behavior, erratic movements, or a decline in egg-laying. Seek advice if you notice these symptoms.
No, avoid this – you could easily damage the eggs or stress the Queen. In times of extreme stress she can eat her eggs.
A test tube setup is ideal for housing a queen ant. It provides a safe and humid environment for her to establish a colony. Once she gets some workers, her colony can expand to a small nest and outworld.
Yes, you can gradually introduce larger setups to accommodate the growing colony. Ensure the new environment has enough space, food, and water.
Transfer the queen and her first batch of workers to a small, outworld setup when the test tube becomes too crowded. Make sure to provide a water source and food.
It’s best to minimize disturbances during the founding stage. Check on her every week to avoid stressing her.
Choosing What to Buy
We recommend starting off small. A nest that is too big for the colony will stress them out, and they may die off. Remember, underground, ants don’t have much space, so it’s better for them to be cramped.
We have plenty of “easy care” ants, but pavement ants (Iridomyrmex bicknelli) are considered the easiest to keep, as well as the fastest growing and very cheap.
It can depend on many factors including temperature, time of year, and diet, but typically we recommend pavement ants (Iridomyrmex bicknelli), meat ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) and big-headed ants (pheidole).
Typically, whichever one you prefer! You can usually just choose whichever nest you like the look of more, however, here are some difference between the two: The Y-Tong nest will retain moisture for longer than the 3D printed nests, meaning you will have to water them less frequently. They are also larger and can contain more ants. The Y-Tong are built to stand up on their side, however they can also be laid flat. The 3D printed nests must be laid flat. Finally, bull ants will not fit in the Type A (red) Y-tong nests.
You only need one queen, she will lay thousands of eggs throughout her life and keep the colony growing in size.
We recommend that all semi-Claustral ants have some form of substrate in their outworld. Please check the information of your ant to determine if its is Claustral or semi-Claustral. We do not recommend sand be placed inside test tubes.toolTips('.classtoolTips0','The method of establishing a new colony, in which a queen sequesters herself in a small chamber and hatches the first generation of workers, nourishing them primarily on stored body fat. The queens will not forage for food, and do not require feeding until the first generation is hatched');
You should only get bull ants if you are very experienced and patient. They are very sensitive to disturbance, highly aggressive, have a painful sting, and take anywhere from 4 months to a year for an egg to hatch into a worker. Also, they usually only lay a few eggs at a time. It’s a long journey!
Feeding your Queen
During the founding stage, provide a tiny drop of sugar water or honey every week or so. As the colony grows, you can increase the frequency of feeding. Be careful how much honey you put in, as the workers can get stuck in it and die.
Offer a sugary solution such as sugar water or honey, which provides a source of carbohydrates. During the founding stage, avoid solid foods as the queen may not be able to digest them.
Offer a tiny droplet of sugar water or a small dab of honey. It’s essential not to overfeed, as excess food can lead to mould growth and other issues.
Place a small droplet of sugar water or honey on a non-absorbent surface near the queen’s location, but towards the end of the test tube where the cotton blocking the entrance is. Avoid directly touching the queen with the food. Some people prefer to place the honey on a tiny piece of foil rather than directly in the test tube.
Small insects like fruit flies, small crickets, or mealworms, as well as protein-rich liquids like diluted honey water or insect-based supplements.
Yes, overfeeding can lead to mold growth, excess moisture, and stress on the queen and colony. Feed small amounts and adjust based on their consumption.
If the queen isn’t eating, she might not be hungry or might be in a resting phase. Ensure the food is easily accessible and try offering it again later.
Wait until the colony has grown and developed a decent number of workers before introducing protein sources. This is usually after the founding stage.
In the early stages, focus on sugar solutions. Once the colony has workers, you can introduce protein sources like small insects or protein-rich liquids.