Ant lovers like to build an ant farm that requires a queen ant and purchase these ants from local distributors without knowing if this is legal or not.
Is It Illegal to Buy a Queen Ant? It is illegal to buy queen ants because some exotic species of insects can transmit diseases when introduced in a new environment, and it raises ecological and ethical concerns. Moreover, it ensures the survival of both native and exotic ants and the stability of the ecosystem. Furthermore, it helps control the agricultural pests and black market involved in the illegal shipping of ants.
It is essential to know whether the ants’ distributor is a permitted seller or not, to keep yourself away from becoming a part of illegal actions.
Why is it illegal to buy a queen ant?
It is not considered legal to buy a queen ant as it raises many concerns about the environment’s safety, and the introduction of new species can pose a survival threat to other species.
Avoid transmission of disease
Ants are capable of disease transmission as their small bodies can carry different organisms when they are navigating through contaminated areas in search of food.
You can find them moving in the trash bin or the rotten food containing bacteria. Additionally, they can transmit deadly pathogens to other ant species that can make them die.
Ant distributors and sellers are unaware of the disease transmission by these insects and consider them harmless; that’s why they do not bother selling them to different regions.
In the same way, many people like to keep exotic species on their farms as it seems interesting to grow them as pets in the region where they are not found locally.
These insects can be present in bathrooms and kitchens, and even some live close to fungus, making them unsuitable for farming.
Furthermore, the US government has banned the transfer of queen ants between states without having legal permits for shipping.
Ensure the survival of native ants
It is banned to transfer ants from one region to other as it can affect the native species of the area where these insects are imported.
Moreover, there is a risk of accidental escape of the exotic species in the new environment that can pose a danger to the native ones.
Sometimes, people release them into the environment intentionally to observe their behavior.
The newly introduced species can kill the native ants and other insects when they have poisonous stings and fighting capabilities to attack smaller insects.
Furthermore, it is not considered good to introduce wild insects like bullet ants to inhabited areas as they are deadly for other insects of the same species and humans.
Get control over the black market
Many people have started their private businesses selling ants and shipping them to different regions within the United States.
The government has raised legal and ethical issues in transporting these insects to get control over the black market, full of unauthorized dealers selling exotic species.
Moreover, these private distributors are selling queens and whole colonies at a large scale without even being noticed by the government to make good money.
These distributors can reach out to the target population, including homeowners interested in building a farm. The private sellers capture queen ants and store them inside test tubes to sell them.
These test tubes are secretly shipped to native countries to reach target customers who have no idea about these illegal actions and choose them to get a queen.
So, it is essential to make these actions illegal for the uncontrolled shipping of queen ants to different regions; that’s why the US government has banned the selling of ants through the mail.
Reduce ecological competition
When the exotic ant species are transferred to a new place, they compete for resources. Sometimes, they begin to eat the food consumed by the native ones.
Accordingly, it creates competition between the two species because they need food to get energy for the continuity of metabolic processes that help ensure their survival.
It leads to survival of the fittest, and the newly introduced queens give rise to a new colony that gets adapted to the new environment and fights for survival.
In addition, competition for food can occur between two different types of insects when they eat the same food source, disturbing the whole ecosystem.
Therefore, this restriction on selling non-native insects through mail helps reduce ecological competition between the two species.
Get control of agricultural pests
Many ants species prefer to live close to trees and build their nests underground. These insects build tunnels in the root region and disturb the soil around the roots of plants.
Moreover, these become agricultural pests sometimes and destroy crops as they suck plant sap through stems. The leafcutter ants are known for eating leaves and damaging the plant.
Similarly, a few get attracted to fruits as they have high nutritional value that can help fulfill nutritional requirements.
Buyers have no idea about the types of ants and their place of origin, and buying from local dealers can create a problem for them later on.
It is essential to protect plants and home gardens from non-native insects; that’s why it is considered an illegal action if distributors have no permit to sell them.
Ensure the survival of exotic species
The exotic or non-native ant species have to suffer when transferred to a new location as it becomes difficult to adapt to different environmental conditions.
Most commonly, these prefer to live in warm and humid places and cannot survive when moved to cold and less humid areas.
It is unethical to disturb their habitat as they face challenges of temperature, food, and water after reaching a new place.
The quality of water, food availability, and external temperature changes can affect their lifespan and sometimes make them die.
So, it is not good to move the species manually as this interference in nature can cause a significant loss of particular species from this planet.
What types of queen ants are illegal to buy?
It is not legal to buy queen ants that are non-native to a region as it is not considered safe for other local species of ants, insects, and even plants.
It is better to consider the local species for an ant farm and play a role in conserving them by providing an ideal medium for multiplying.
Moreover, you cannot keep wild insects in houses as they are potentially dangerous to keep inside the home and cause a problem if these ants escape from the farm accidentally.
Furthermore, choose the species commonly present in houses as they are not much harmful, and you will get a chance to see the behavior of these amazing insects.
The queens belonging to velvet and bullet ant colonies are not good to keep, and it is illegal to grow non-native species in your house if the state does not know about it.
Where to buy queen ants legally?
Most probably, you get confused after knowing about the fake distributors around you that can sell queen ants without telling you that these are illegally acquired.
You have to find some reliable and authentic platforms through online means or search for stores that have got a permit for selling queens by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Moreover, you can look for a local ant keeper who is legally allowed to sell them in the United States and confirm their authenticity before finalizing an order.
Furthermore, avoid purchasing expensive queen ants in a test tube that is not labeled appropriately or if their source is not clearly mentioned.