Many people are interested in starting a pet ant colony at home if you want to know their cost. It is better to have a rough idea before buying to avoid greedy sellers.
How Much Does an Ant Colony Cost? Ant colonies can cost between $25 to $50, and it varies according to the species type, number of workers and queens, seller, and shipping location. The hairy panther ants are expensive due to their large size, while black garden ants are the cheapest colonies to buy and keep as pets. You can get almost 2 to 500 workers with one or more queens in one set.
Choosing the right seller to get the best rates is essential because a few private companies increase the prices without notice to get financial benefits.
Moreover, you probably have to pay more for the product bought by your friend living in another state at cheaper rates because their cost varies in different regions of America.
What is the average cost of ant colonies?
Different factors are responsible for determining the cost of ant colonies, including the species of insects, as some commonly available species have cheap rates.
Some pet ants species have larger bodies and attractive traits than others, as small brown ants are smaller in size than blood red ants, which are available at almost $12 and $23.
Moreover, the hairy panther ant or Neoponera villosa have larger bodies and extend from 10 mm to 15 mm, which are available at around $250.
In addition, the number of workers in a colony can change the product’s price as a set of fewer workers and queen is usually available at a low cost.
The shiny sugar ant colonies having one queen and 15 workers can cost you around $35, but a red ant colony having a queen and 10 workers is for $15.
They have different species, but the number of workers also makes a noticeable difference in the cost of two of these colonies.
Furthermore, you have to pay more for exotic species, as rare ones are usually more expensive than those that are commonly available and are easier to access.
The average cost of ant colonies is almost $25 to $50, but you can find a few at nearly $7 to $15 at a minimum and $150 to $250 at a maximum.
Example of ant colonies with their colony size, cost, and body size
|Types of ant colonies
|Queen + 10 workers
|4 to 10 mm
|Southern garden ants
|Queen + 50 workers
|3 to 6 mm
|North American ants
|Queen + 4 workers
|2 to 4 mm
|Small brown ants
|Queen + 8 workers
|2 to 4 mm
|Japanese carpenter ants
|Queen + 4 workers
|6 to 13 mm
|Black garden ants
|Queen + 40 workers
|2 to 5 mm
|Queen + 20 workers
|3.5 to 4 mm
|Queen + 6 workers
|8 to 10 mm
|Blood red ants
|Queen + 5 workers
|4 to 8 mm
|Shiny sugar ants
|Queen + 15 workers
|7 to 9 mm
|Hairy panther ant
|Queen + 20 workers
|10 to 15 mm
Why are ant colonies expensive?
Ant colonies are expensive because they have a larger size based on multiple queens or workers. However, a single insect is cheaper for those who need only a queen to start.
The number of workers and queens can change the cost as a queen with 2 workers is cheaper than the one with 10 or more workers.
You can get a queen of Messor barbarous species for only $3, but the cost rises to $9 and $20 when the number of workers in a set increases to almost 10 and 25.
In addition, a large colony needs to be packed in a larger setup compared to one insect, which will add to the overall cost. Similarly, the shipping rate changes with the size of the packaging.
A larger setup is required to keep them at home as you cannot use a test tube or jar to keep hundreds of insects. You need a proper formicarium to ensure their survival and avoid escape.
Furthermore, these usually last longer and require long-term maintenance, making them expensive compared to a one-worker or queen colony that is supposed to survive for a short term.
How many ants are present in ant colonies?
Ants number in a colony varies as every seller makes a different set, while some of the ant-keepers offer customization, as you can add or remove them according to your requirement.
You can get a newly mated queen to establish a new setup from scratch. In addition, you can also look for a queen with 2 or 4 workers, which is a small setup.
Some colonies have a queen and 10 or 25 workers if you need an established colony, where workers perform various tasks like feeding their mother.
This number of workers can increase to 500 if you need a bigger colony for documenting or research purposes because a few people grow them to study their behavior.
So, you can ask for the addition of a few worker ants in a set of colonies if it is of small size, or you can choose a different set that suits your need.
Furthermore, the number of queens can also vary, as a few have only one, while some can have multiple reproductive members.
What is the easiest and cheapest ant colony to keep?
Ants are amazing and low-maintenance pets, but a few are expensive and require extra care or maintenance than others that are usually not preferred for their high cost.
It is better to know the easiest species of insects that can be handled without making any serious efforts and are available at low rates.
You can get a Lasius niger species of these insects at the cheapest rates because these are commonly present in gardens as they prefer to live under the soil.
Moreover, these black garden ants live under brickwork or paved surfaces like driveways. The lifespan of workers is around 1.5 to 2 years, while queens can live for 30 years.
You have to invest in their colony for once, which costs around $10, including a queen and 40 workers, which will remain in running condition for many years.
These insects are omnivorous, which means they can eat various foods, including sugary foods, seeds, rotting fruits, and dead insects.
Furthermore, they have higher resistance against harsh conditions like dry and hot environments, making them ideal for keeping as pets.