Keeping pet-ants has become a worldwide phenomenon and it is not surprising that some people are interested in keeping their own fire ant colony. Fire ants are widely spread in many parts of the world and their reputation of being aggressive and dangerous makes it even more exciting to keep them as pets. But do not decide too quickly, because fire ants are not the easiest pets to keep.
As a whole, fire ants are not an easy ant species to keep. They are masters in escaping, they multiply very quickly, and not to forget: They are aggressive and do not hesitate to attack in a very painful way, rapidly injecting venom into the skin.
Pros and Cons of Keeping Fire Ants?
Just like any other ant species, there are pros and cons to fire ants.
As a whole, the pros of keeping fire ants are that they are easy to find and collect in the wild and their colonies multiply. On the other hand, a fast-growing colony also means that they need a lot of space and often need to be resettled. Fire ants are also true escape artists which can be annoying.
On the one hand, fire ants are widely available and it is easy to collect a queen if you live in an area where fire ants are.
Fire ant colonies grow very quickly, which makes the entire ant-keeping experience very exciting and rewarding and you can quickly see results and don’t have to wait for two years until you have a colony worth watching.
On the other hand, the fast growth of the colony leads to a bigger responsibility.
Fire ants need to be resettled in bigger places way earlier than other ant species. They need more maintenance and also more food very fast.
Fire ants are masters in escaping. They are willing to resettle quickly if they find a place more attractive than their current home.
This means that if they find a weak spot where you keep them, they will detect that spot and escape into your room. Most ant farms are therefore not suitable for fire ants.
Another huge disadvantage of fire ants is their aggressive behavior combined with a very painful sting.
There is no nicer way to put it- fire ants are hazardous. They bite and sting repeatedly and can even cause serious medical emergencies.
We already covered how painful and dangerous a fire ant attack can be in this article.
Are Fire Ants Good for Beginners?
Fire ants are not the best species for beginners. They could be classified as medium-difficult to keep because of the low failure rate. If you find an inseminated fire ant queen, the chances for a successfully established fire ant colony are pretty high. But they can be hard to contain and care for in the long run.
I already mentioned a lot of reasons above why fire ants can be quite hard to keep. The fact that their colonies grow very fast and that they are hard to contain is just the tip of the iceberg.
We have a list of great ant species for beginners that you can find here if you are interested.
What do Fire Ants Eat
Fire ants eat basically everything. They eat plants, fruits, insects, and even smaller mammals. They love sweet and moist food such as juicy, sticky fruits and liquids such as honey, syrup, or sugar water. Their daily diet includes all kinds of insects such as cockroaches, centipedes, and crickets.
During the nuptial flights, freshly mated queens, that are unlucky enough to land too close to a different fire ant nest, will also be a meal for fire ant colonies, just like reptiles, freshly hatched birds, or any dead animal.
You can find a full list of things that fire ants keep as well as a recipe for fire ant food in this article.
What is a Good Beginner Ant Species
Ant species that are good for beginners are regional ants, which are already used to the climate and food of the area. You also have the huge advantage that you can let them free if for any reason you are not able to care for your ant colony anymore.
If you are looking for the perfect ant species to start your ant-keeping hobby, you might want to check out the Lasius niger, Lasius neoniger, or Laius americanos. Always check out, whether these ants already live in your area.
Other ant species with high success factors that are easy to keep are the Camponotus species as well as the Crematogaster cerasi and Tetramorium immigrans.