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Exploring the Factors That May Prevent Ants from Moving in Your Ant Farm

Ant farm kit for sale UK

Why is my ant colony not moving to their new ant farm?

Ant farms have long been a fascinating way to observe the intricate behaviour and social structure of these tiny creatures. The idea of creating a miniature world for ants to thrive in is both educational and entertaining. However, it can be disheartening when ants do not show interest in moving into the ant farm. In this article, we will delve into the factors that may prevent ants from taking up residence in your ant farm and explore troubleshooting tips to encourage them to do so.

Understanding Ant Behaviour

Before we can understand why ants may not move into an ant farm, it is important to grasp their behaviour in the wild. Ants are highly social insects that live in colonies led by a queen. Each colony has a specific nest location and foraging area. They communicate through chemical signals called pheromones, which help them navigate and coordinate their activities. Ants are highly adaptable creatures and can adjust their behaviour based on the availability of food, water, and suitable nesting conditions. Despite all this, you must research well enough to provide the optimal environmental conditions to make yourself a successful antkeeper and your ants happy. The ants native to the UK such as Lasius Niger and Flavus require different humidity and temperature than the European and Asian ants etc.

Factors that may prevent ants from moving into the ant farm

Lack of suitable environment

One of the primary reasons ants may not want to move into the ant farm is the lack of a suitable environment. Ants are instinctively drawn to specific conditions that mimic their natural habitat. The ant farm should provide a comfortable temperature, humidity levels, and substrate similar to what ants would find in the wild. If these conditions are not met, ants may not feel secure or comfortable enough to establish a new nest in the ant farm. There is no ant species which builds a nest in an open space where the queen ant and the colony brood are exposed to danger. Avoid ant farms with no red filter and black cover included on the nest part.


Inadequate food and water supply

Just like any living creature, ants require a steady supply of food and water to survive. If the ant farm does not offer an adequate food and water source, ants will be reluctant to move in. It is crucial to provide a variety of food options that cater to the specific dietary needs of the ant species you are trying to attract. Additionally, a consistent supply of clean water should be available within the ant farm. Without these essential resources, ants will have no incentive to leave their test tube nest in search of a new home.

Please read this article for complete feeding information and food requirements: From Sugar to Insects: What Do Ants Eat 


Queen Ant issues

The presence and condition of the Queen Ant played a vital role in the establishment of a new colony. In case you get a not fertile queen ant for less you can expect a long time frustrating period along with a waste of time plus empty expectations loss. Queen ants are responsible for producing offspring and maintaining the overall health and stability of the colony. Without a queen, the ants will not have a leader or a future generation to sustain their presence on the ant farm.

Incompatibility with existing ant colonies

If you already have an existing ant colony and are attempting to introduce new ants to the ant farm, incompatibility issues will arise. Ants are highly territorial creatures, and different ant colonies may engage in aggressive behaviours when they come into contact with each other.

It is not possible to “replace” the queen ant or add workers from another colony to the existing one or the ants will fight to the death.

Black garden ants (Lasius Niger) vs. other species

It is worth noting that different ant species may have varying preferences when it comes to nesting and foraging behaviours. Some ant species, such as black ants, are more adaptable and adaptable to new environments and may be more likely to move into an ant farm. On the other hand, other species may be more selective and less inclined to leave their natural habitats. Understanding the preferences and behaviour of the specific ant species you are targeting can help you create an environment that is more likely to attract them to the ant farm.

Troubleshooting tips for getting ants to move into the ant farm.

Find out everything you need to know about the Black Ants in the UK: How to look after a Lasius Niger (Black Garden Ant Farm at home)?

Live Ant Colonies vs. Ant Formicarium Kits with Ants included

One of the first considerations, when you start in ant-keeping, is whether to get live ants and the farm separately or an ant formicarium kit. We do recommend getting an ant formicarium kit which provides a ready-made habitat that can be populated by ants included straight away. All the Bundle Ant Startup Setups with ants offer a guaranteed population for your ant farm. Getting the ants from one seller and the ant farm from another might be an issue in the future. Find a reputable seller offering all-in-one, ants with a queen, farm and accessories plus food. And do not forget the PTFE Fluon escape prevention or you might wake up with ants in your pants. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option before deciding which route to take.

Creating a suitable environment

To entice ants to move into the ant farm after the colony has overgrown its test tube setup, it is crucial to create a suitable environment that meets their needs. Research the specific requirements of the ant species you are targeting and replicate those conditions within the ant farm. Use a substrate that mimics the natural soil or sand that ants would encounter in the wild. Make sure the ant substrate you get is a mixture of sand and loam and it is safe, and clean from mites or contamination. Maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels to ensure the ants feel comfortable and secure. Additionally, provides a variety of food sources and a clean water supply that is easily accessible within the ant farm. By creating an environment that closely resembles their natural habitat, you increase the likelihood of ants thriving on the ant farm.

A comprehensive guide to set up your ant farm: How to set up your live queen ant farm?

Using pheromones and attractants

Pheromones are chemical signals that ants use to communicate and navigate their environment. By utilizing synthetic pheromones and attractants, you can mimic the scent trails that ants follow in the wild. These pheromones can be strategically placed inside the ant farm to guide ants towards the desired location. Additionally, attractants such as organic honey or sweets can be used to entice ants to explore the ant farm. By strategically placing these attractants near the entrance of the ant farm, you can increase the chances of ants venturing inside and eventually deciding to establish a nest.

Patience and observation

Patience is key when attempting to move ants to an ant farm. It may take time for ants to discover and become comfortable with the new habitat. Regularly observe the ant farm for any signs of ant activity, such as foraging or scouting behaviour. By patiently monitoring the ant farm, you can gain insights into the ants' preferences and adjust the environment or attractants accordingly. It is important to remember that ants are intelligent creatures that may require time to evaluate and accept a new nesting location. During the winter, it might take months to move the native UK or European ant species, which do hibernate, into the ant farm. 

Moving your ants faster

Please, wrap the ant’s test tube with tinfoil and leave it there for the first 10-14 days and after that start to slide it out just 1mm every day. Your ant setup must be kept in a no-vibration place (away from daily household activity) at room temperature. Any temperature between 20 and 26 degrees is suitable for most ant species. The red acrylic filter must stay on top of the nest all the time, you can remove it once a week for 2-3 minutes to have a better look at your colony. The same rule applies to the black acrylic cover. Placed on top all the time. You can remove it for up to 5 minutes daily to enjoy your queen ant with the red filter on. If this doesn't help and you are struggling to get your ants to move many people will say to just wait and have them move in on their own. This doesn't work a lot of the time and the ants just sit there. What we have found to work is using harsh light. This will work on harvester ants for instance but not on the stubborn Lasius niger. For the black garden or fire ants you must use a heat source (heating mat) to move them out of the test tube setup into the nest.

WARNING, this is a last resort if you are not patient enough to wait. This might harm your Queen Ant if not done properly. Do this at your own risk.


While it can be frustrating when ants do not show interest in moving into an ant farm, understanding the factors that may prevent them from doing so is crucial. Lack of a suitable environment, inadequate food and water supply, queen ant issues, incompatibility with existing ant colonies, and species preferences are all factors that can influence ants' decision to move into an ant farm. By troubleshooting and implementing strategies such as using treats, creating a suitable environment, and exhibiting patience, you can increase the chances of successfully attracting ants to your ant farm. Remember, each ant species is unique, and it may require some experimentation and observation to find the best approach. So go ahead, unlock the mystery, and create an enticing habitat that ants will be eager to call home.

Ready to embark on your ant farm journey? Buy an ant farm with live ants and witness the fascinating world of these tiny creatures come alive within your own home! Buy Ant Farm with Live Ants


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