Frequently asked questions

Ants

If you wish to find elaborate information about ants, you can consult this page. You can already find frequently asked questions about ants and their answers below. Need help determining what you need to get started? Then take a look at our purchasing guide.

Ant colonies require specific environmental conditions and nutrition. Water is essential. A colony without water can die withing a few days to a few hours. Additionally, they also need sugar as energy source and protein for growth.

Of course, they also need good environmental conditions In nature, many ants live in soil, wood or underneath rocks. In captivity, popular nesting spaces are test tubes, acrylic nests, wooden nests etc. This is very dependant on the ant species and how they live in nature.

As they usually live underground, we generally assume ants need a dark nesting space. However, many species get stress from sudden changes in light, but they can get used to being in light continuously. Of course, a covered nest reduced the chance of disturbing the ants.

It is important to note that most ants do not have the ability to ingest solid food. Everything they eat is therefore liquid (even for insects, they “drink” the bodily fluids). It is possible however that they bring food to the larvae in the nest, which sometimes do have the ability to break down solid food sources. All ant species need sugar and protein. Sugar kan occur in many forms. Some examples are honey, diluted honey, sugar water, fruit,… Protein us usually obtained from insects. Other possibilities are honeydew (surrogate), amino acid solutions or meat and fish. Some species are also able to eat seeds. These are granivorous.

This depends on the species and the class. In general, the queen lives a few years up to 30 years! Hier zijn ook uitzonderingen op waarbij de koninging slechts enkele maanden oud wordt.Of course, there are some exceptions. Dit zijn dan vaak soorten die kolonies hebben met soms honderden koninginen.Colonies with hundreds of queens have queens that sometimes live up to only a few months. The workers can live a few months up to a few years.

Winged ants (alos called alates) are ants able to perform sexual reproduction. Fertile females and male ants are born with wings. During certain periods of the year, these ants will be produced by colonies. They then have massive bridal flights in which they mate. After mating, the males die and the mated queens find an adequate spot to found a new colony.

Male ants come from unfertilized eggs. If a queen only lays eggs from which males develop, it probably means she is not fertilized. She therefor won’t be able to found a stable colony.

Keeping Ants

Information about keeping ants can also be found here.

Ant keeping is possible all around the world. There are many reasons to keep ants, which of course vary from people to people. It’s the ideal way to study ants close up. You don’t only see their behaviour outside the nest, which is mostly visible in nature, but can also take a look inside their nest. This way, you can see things which are very hard to notice in nature. It is also a good way to experiment and be amazed by the ants’ creativity in certain situations. Give them a new type of food, introduce them into a special setup and see where they decide to nest,… the possibilities are endless. You will also be responsible for their wellbeing. You decide what environment they live in. This responsiblity also comes with the great satisfaction to see a lonely queen grow up to form a full fledged ant colony with hundreds or even thousands of workers! It is also easy to adapt the time and budget you want to spend. Both those who want to spends hours a week or only half an hour a week will find something to their liking when keeping ants. This is completely up to you. Of course, you should keep this in mind when chosing which ant species you want to keep.

A common misconception is just how much food ant colonies need.

Let’s start with something simple: sugars. Ants use sugars for energy. Small colonies can be offered a few drops of sugar solution regularly (1-2x a week). Once they get a little bigger, we recommend permanently offering a tube with sugar solution that is refreshed weekly (avoid fermentation). Adjust the amount according to the size of the colony.

Then there’s protein. A very small colony with less than 10 workers will almost never require significant visible amounts of protein at once, so don’t worry if the given insects or other food sources seem unaffected. Change the food offered every 48 hours and/or try to adjust the amount according to the size of the colony. Personally, we try to offer protein once a week for 24 hours for colonies with less than 50-100 workers, the portions increase as the colony grows. Larger colonies or species that require a lot of protein may require several feeding times per week. So don’t be surprised if your colony doesn’t touch that 3rd serving of the week, they probably still have plenty of reserve.

In addition, ants also prefer liquid food (even with insects they often “drink” the body fluids), so that solid food sometimes appears unaffected.

How do you determine the portions that suit your colony? Start by giving a little more than you think they will need (don’t forget, leave it up for 48 hours, then remove it!). Then reduce this so that usually nothing or little remains. A sign that the ants are getting too little protein/sugar/water is when a larger proportion of the workers are active in the outworld. Please note, protein is mainly for the brood and therefore requirements do not depend on the number of workers, but mainly on the size of the brood pile.

This depends on your preference. We recommend beginner species for novice ant keepers. These require limited knowledge and experience. You should also decide how much budget and time you want to spend on this. There are some species that only form very small colonies up to colonies of millions of individuals. Some species will require a lot of care and attentions, while others can be left alone for longer periods of time. So first determine how much you would like to invest and then chose the species depending on this. If you hesitate, feel free to contact us for personalized advice.

This depends on the species you chose. Many species can be kept in a test tube setup. If this is not the case, it will be specifically mentioned on our website. Some general tips:

  • Don’t use a nest which is too large. Ants like to sit tightly together. A very common mistake is to put a colony in a nest which is too large. This will cause stress, stockpiling of garbage in the nest leading to parasites and fungal growth and generally bad conditions for the ants. This is why the reasoning “I will buy a large nest so I’m good for some time” is wrong. This can lead to loss of the colony. A general guideline is to only move a colony from its test tube when you have 50-100 workers.
  • Look at the natural habitat of your species. A species that lives in trees in nature can be put in a wooden nest, while for species nesting in moist soil this is not ideal. Sometimes you also have species with very specific requirements.

Always keep in mind humidity. some ants require high humidity in the nest while others are perfectly fine in a dry nest. Also take into account if you can achieve the proper humidity in the nest and if the materials can cope with it. For example, wooden nests are harder to keep very moist.

Sure! Be carefull however: wild insects can contain parasites or disease. It is often recommended to first freeze or cook the insect for some time to kill off any disease of parasites. This will make it safer to feed them to your colony. When you breed your own feeder insects, this ofd course depends on their breeding conditions. To be certain, you can take the same precautions as for wild insects.

Indiginous species can be released back into nature. However, their survival chance will be quite low as there are many dangers in nature. Exotic specis can neverbe released into the wild! Best case scenario they will die. Worst case scenario is that they could survive and disrupt the local ecosystem. If you own a colony you no longer wish to keep, contact us. We can arrange to take over the colony or find a new owner for it.

Of course you don’t want to adjust your holiday plans to the needs of your ants. Still, you want your colony to stay healthy!

The first and easiest option is to ask someone to take care of your colony. Give clear instructions (how much food, how often and which situations to avoid)

If you can’t find someone to take over the care, your ants can go up to 2 weeks without extra protein with a decent source of sugars. (again depending on the species and size of the colony, if in doubt please contact us). However, make sure that food cannot get mouldy, good ventilation is important for this. Also pay attention to where your colony is, make sure it is safe and quiet, without the danger of bad conditions (sunlight, strong temperature differences,…). For periods longer than 2 weeks it is best to look for an alternative, but you can try to keep enough “reserve” food within reach of the ants. Watch out for spoilage. We do not recommend this at all.

Taking the colony on holiday will cause a lot of stress (and in some cases problems with transporting the colony). Rest and good care of the colony during the holiday can also be difficult. This is therefore not recommended.

Orders

Shipping costs depend on the destination and package wize. Weight is automatically calculated on chackout, so you don’t need to worry about this. Most of our shipping methods also allow package tracking (T&T). Some price estimations:
Delivery in Belgium with T&T 5€
Delivery to France with T&T 5,5€
Delivery to the Netherlands with T&T 8€

Under normal circumstances orders will be sent on Monday and/or Tuesday. When requested, we can try to ship your order sooner. Even if our shipping companies promise shipping within 1 to 3 days, we prefer to take precautions as delays may happen. You usually receive your package within 3-5 days.

In exceptional circumstances (heat wave,…) we could delay the shipment of your order. You will be informed if this is the case.

The products we sell can be divided into two categories: equipment and live ants. These each have their own conditions:

  • Ant colonies: We take the greatest care that all our ant colonies are in good health. We therefore guarantee the ants will arrive at destination in good health. It is possible however that stress of shipping can cause health problems for your colony within 24h after delivery. This is why we extend our guarantee up to 24h after delivery. If there are clear signals that one of our colonies did not reach you in good health, we will discuss proper compensation for you. If this is after the first 24h after delivery, it will depend on the situation. Of course, if there is a clear cause from our side, we will compensate you. However, we can not guarantee compensation 24h after delivery.
  • Equipment: If food shows signs of spoiling upon delivery, you will be compensated. As an alternative, we can also send you a new batch. In this case, additional shipping costs will be charged.

Attention! If you have your order delivered without track and trace, we do not offer any guarantee. IT is impossible for us to determine the exact delivery time and we can therefore not check if you are eligible for a refund. In case you should encounter any problems you can of course always contact us. We will evaluate the situation and determine if compenstion is in order.

We also know from experience that packages without T&T tend to get lost or delayed more frequently. In addition to this, we cannot ask the delivery company to check the status of the package as there is no tracking. We only offer this exceptionally as there is some demand for this in specific cases. If you chose for this alternative, it is at your own risk. Even if the parcel is lost and you did not chose for T&T, we will not compensate you.

We process orders in the weekend and send them on Monday and/or Tuesday. Delivery time is between 1-5 days after shipping. If you did not receive your parcel after this time period, please contact us through our contact page or by e-mailing to beants.belgium@gmail.com.

If your order is damaged in transit (and you chose for T&T) we offer compensation. We can either give a refund or send a new product. Did you receive damaged goods or unhealthy colonies? Please contact us through our contact page or by e-mailing to beants.belgium@gmail.com.

Two possible scenarios are possible (if you chose T&T):

  • The colony is dead: Contact us, you will be refunded.
  • Some workers died in transit: Depending on how many workers died and how strongly this affect your colony, partial or full compensation can be given.
  • Your colony arrived in good health, but after X days they start dying: All our colonies are shipped in good health. If their condition worsens after delivery, this could be caused due to their current environment. Do you think something is wrong? Contact us as quickly as possible so we can help remedy the situation. If you suspect transit could have something to do with their current state, we can discuss possible compensation.

Products

Please contact us through our contact page or by e-mailing to beants.belgium@gmail.com. We’ll be glad to help.

Currently we do not sell all equipment for ant keeping (pipettes, tweezers,…). However, we do have our own materials which we could maybe sell. Looking for specific tools? Ask us if we can help you.

Your experience is very important to us. Do you have any complaints? Please contact us through our contact page or by e-mailing to beants.belgium@gmail.com.

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Please contact us through our contact page or by e-mailing to beants.belgium@gmail.com.

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