How to look after a Lasius Niger (Black Garden Ant Farm at home)?
How to look after a Lasius Niger Black Garden Ant Farm at home)? Oh, that's a million-dollar question for any beginner ant keeper. Well, not anymore.
If you want to raise a Lasius Niger ant colony by yourself please check out an eight years old boy and his sister's video guide on YouTube. It's an entertaining and educational video that covers all the topics regarding Black Ant Care made for either children or adults.
The Lasius Niger, also known as the black garden ant, is a common and easy-to-keep species for ant enthusiasts. They are small, black ants that are generally docile and won't sting or bite. These tiny creatures play an important role in the ecosystem and are essential for maintaining a balanced environment. They prefer to nest in soil or under rocks and are known for their hardworking nature. Lasius Niger colonies can grow to over 10,000 workers and are a great choice for those looking to start their ant-keeping journey. Lasus Niger queen ant lifespan is up to 28 years and 9 months even in a lab, this queen ant will ensure the longevity of your ant colony. The Black Ant workers will live up to 1-2 years and aid in the growth and success of your colony.
Development: The eggs hatch in about 21 to 28 days into larvae. Within a further 30-35 days these larvae turn into adult ants. So from a just-laid egg to an adult worker. 6 - 8 Weeks and more precisely - egg to larvae: approx. 10 -12 days, larvae to pupae: approx. 10 -14 days, pupae to worker: approx. 10 - 24 days (depending on temperature 20-26 degrees C, the warmer the faster).
Did you know that Lasius Niger ants can live without food and water for a very long time, let me say just a month during the active period and for up to 6 months during the winter, also known as a hibernation period. So, considering the aforementioned first, let me add another fascinating fact, even with no food or water supplies for a fortnight and a well-moisturized ant habitat, the Black Garden Ant colony will survive during the summer!
Yes, that's true.
On the opposite, if you disturb your queen ant, if you put her under stress lifting your setup lid a few times a day to check if everything is going well or if you put your ant setup near your TV or stereo so all that vibration will hit into the nest area etc., all that will lead to a tragic end of your first ant experience. Why is that?
Imagine living quietly in your house, in a dark room because the light makes you scared, and suddenly a giant lifts up the roof above your head a few times every single day and on top of all, a bright light blinds you at the same time. Apart from this, the nasty giant screams and makes strange noises now and then, sometimes so loud that the whole house shakes, for the ants it is the same as an earthquake affecting a person's house. How long are you going to last? I will leave the answer to you.
You should leave your little friends alone. Check them once a week for a minute or two in the evening when the light coming from the night lamp is more soft and be as gentle as possible.
First of all, keep in mind that we'll feed the ants before dispatch also once you receive your ant farm and ant colony, leave the parcel unopened for 4-5 hours at room temperature so your ants can get used to their new environment. Avoiding toxins built up in your ants due to abrupt temperature changes is essential. Then check if your queen ant is safe and sound and leave your ants for 4-5 days to relax after their journey to you. Please keep them in a dark place with no vibrations, at a room temperature of 20-26 C (away from daily household activities).
Do not disturb and Do not feed your ant colony during this period. Checking them once 24 hours after arrival is enough.
Feeding your pet ants. You should feed them protein-rich food and sweets twice a week. For instance, feed your ants live insects or protein jelly every Monday and Friday. Give them sweets, organic honey or fruit (half a grape, a similar amount of a banana etc.) on Wednesday and Saturday. How much? Well, for a small colony with a queen ant and about fifty workers, the amount of the protein jelly must be similar to the size of a single rice grain. Regarding the live food, feed them mealworms, locusts, crickets or similar and do not forget to kill any possible microbes or mites the live food might be contaminated with. How? Just put it in boiling water for ten seconds minimum and fifteen seconds maximum, then chop it in half and put it in the ants' outworld using a tiny piece of tinfoil as a tray. Use a small cotton ball to pour a drop or two of the honey to prevent ants from getting stuck and drowning. Now, the most important part is always to discard any remaining ant food after 2 days or fungus may appear.
How to feed your ants Organic Honey and Protein Jelly? Video instructions? Click HERE!
Once your colony is large enough you can consider moving it into an ant farm. I would recommend the smallest possible ant farm to begin with the Lasius ant species. The A7-sized nest is the best option among our products so you can get the A7 Ant Farm or the A7 PLUS if you'd like to monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside the nesting area. Both ant habitats are designed to maintain air humidity of about 60% if your room temperature is 22°C, pouring 1-1.5 ml of bottled (mineral or purified) water once a week ensures optimal conditions for your ant colony. With easy access to food and water into the outworld, your ants will be happy and healthy in their new home. Give your ants the best possible care and living space with our lasius niger habitats.
Maintaining the correct humidity in the nest area is essential. Lasius Niger loves well-humid areas so keep the moisture high, between 50 and 60 percent. Do not get confused by some Lasius Niger care sheets which state a moisture level as it's different than the humidity levels. Find out more in our Lasius Niger care sheet here.
If you do not want to deal with escaped ants, which is a common issue while you feed them, apply about an inch wide of our PTFE Fluon. It is a full-strength product and lasts for months, a non-stick material that creates an impenetrable barrier against crawling insects. The ants will not be able to crawl out due to the very slippery surface and will fall back into the outworld. How to apply the PTFE Fluon Escape prevention. Video instructions? Click HERE!
A few words about the hibernation. To remain healthy, your queen and worker ants require proper hibernation during the winter months, which is important for their survival. The Lasius niger ant hibernates through the winter and wakes up around late March/early April. To hibernate, the temperature of the nest needs to be reduced to around 10 degrees Celsius, which is not too cold for the ants to survive. It is important to lower the temperature gradually, first when you put your ants in hibernation and afterwards when you take them out of hibernation. I recommend 0.2-0.3 degrees Celsius daily. The lower the better. If you decide to listen to some people and put your ant farm into your fridge make sure the temperature is not below 8 degrees Celsius so check it with an accurate thermometer first. If you do not have the necessary skills or equipment to hibernate your ants, just do
your best and move your ant farm to a colder room at least like a garage or similar. Bear in mind that they will hibernate in any scenario no matter the environment temperature. They will become more clumsy and not so active during this winter period so feed them once every ten days or so. Just make sure they have a freshwater supply all the time.
Watering the habitat?
When to change water? Once it is finished or looks contaminated (cloudy, change colour etc.).
It is important to note that gel farms are not a suitable habitat for Lasius niger ants, as they can quickly become mouldy and do not provide the necessary nutrition for the colony. To ensure the safety and well-being of these fascinating creatures, it is essential to provide them with a proper ant farm and diet.
Avoid direct sunlight on the setup.
The sun can heat the nest with up to 5 degrees Celsius for only 5 minutes so lots of toxins are being accumulated in the ants' bodies due to abrupt temperature changes. This can kill a worker ant for 1-3 days and a queen ant for 3-5 days if the sun does not boil the ants alive before that.
In conclusion, after more than two decades in this business, I can admit that the most important part of successful ant-keeping is your patience and I mean it.
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